Legislative update — why we vote

Published 9:23 am Tuesday, October 17, 2023

By Daniel Elliott

District 54 Representative

“The most important office, and the one which all of us can and should fill, is that of private citizen.” Louis Brandeis, Kentuckian and Associate Supreme Court Justice

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Nov. 7 is election day and while most of the nation’s attention is turned to next year’s presidential election, Kentuckians will vote this year to elect new statewide constitutional officers. This includes: Commissioner of Agriculture, Auditor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and Governor.

Have you ever wondered why we vote? Maybe felt that your vote is not important? It is. In fact, it is critical that we all take the time to learn about candidates and vote. Voting is an important part of our democracy, and it is something that many adults do regularly. But why do they do it, and why is it essential for our country? Let us explore some of the reasons why we vote.

In the United States, we have a system of government where the people get to choose their leaders. These leaders make decisions that affect our lives. Voting also helps to ensure that our government represents our values and priorities. When we vote, we are giving our input on who we think should be in charge and make these important decisions.

Voting also honors the sacrifices of those who came before us. Throughout history, many people fought and even gave their lives to secure the right to vote for all citizens. Women, African Americans, and even those who could not afford to own property had to overcome significant challenges to gain the right to vote. When we cast our ballots, we are honoring their struggle and ensuring that their efforts were not in vain.

In addition to these important reasons, voting teaches us valuable lessons about responsibility and civic duty. It is a way to show that we care about our country and our community. When we vote, we are taking an active role in shaping our future, and we are fulfilling our duty as responsible citizens.

Some people might think that their vote doesn’t matter, especially if they are just one person among millions. But every vote counts. Elections can be very close – in fact the last governor’s race was decided by less than 5,000 votes – and sometimes just a handful of votes can make the difference between one candidate winning and another. So, even if you think your voice is small, it can still have a big impact on the outcome.

So how can you vote? Below is a summary of important election dates as shared by the State Board of Elections:

• Oct. 24 (​11:59 p.m. local time) – Last day to request a mail-in absentee ballot.

• All mail-in absentee ballots must be received by 6 p.m. Local Time, on election day, Nov. 7 to be counted.  Voters are highly encouraged not to wait until election day to hand deliver their absentee ballot.

• Drop boxes are available in each county to hand deliver your ballot.  To find out where the drop box is located in your county, visit the State Board of Elections website at: govote.ky.gov

• In-person, excused absentee voting Oct. 25-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 1.  To find out when and where in-person, excused absentee voting will take place in their county, voters should visit the State Board of Elections website at: govote.ky.gov

• Early in-person, no excuse absentee voting will take place Thursday, Nov. 2, Friday, Nov. 3, and Saturday, Nov. 4.  To find out when and where early voting will take place in their county, voters should visit govote.ky.gov. Voters that know they wish to take advantage of early in-person absentee voting are encouraged not to wait until ​Nov. 7 to cast their ballot.

• In-person voting on election day, Nov. 7, will take place from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., local time.  To find out where to vote in-person on election day, voters should visit govote.ky.gov.

As always, I hope you will contact me with any questions or concerns. You can reach me here at home in our district or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 800-372-7181. If you would like more information, visit the legislature’s website legislature.ky.gov or email me at Daniel.Elliott@lrc.ky.gov.