Tuesday 23rd April 2024

Mail-in absentee ballot portal opens Saturday ahead of Kentucky primary

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(WCLU NEWS FILE PHOTO)

Brennan Crain and Luke Pierce contributed to this report.

GLASGOW — Eligible voters across Kentucky can request mail-in absentee ballots starting Saturday, April 1 when the statewide online portal opens.

This year’s primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16, and will consist of Constitutional State officers such as Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor of Public Accounts, State Treasurer, and Commissioner of Agriculture

The absentee ballot requests are granted to select voters – those who are unable to vote on Election Day or during early voting times.

“If you do not have internet access or you don’t own a computer or know how to operate one that doesn’t mean you can’t have access to a absentee ballot if you meet the criteria, said Helena Birdwell, Barren County clerk. “Give us a call here at the clerks office at (270) 651-3783 and we will assit you in that request. We want to make sure that everyone that wants to vote and their a registered voter has access to voting here in Barren County.”

The Kentucky Board of Elections outlines these criteria for those eligible to mail in ballots:

  • A resident of Kentucky who is a covered voter as defined in KRS 117A.010;
  • A student who temporarily resides outside the county of his or her residence;
  • Incarcerated in jail and charged with a crime, but has not been convicted of the crime;
  • Changing or has changed his or her place of residence to a different state while the registration books are closed in the new state of residence before an election of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, in which case the voter shall be permitted to cast a mail-in absentee ballot for electors for President and Vice President of the United States only;
  • Temporarily residing outside the state but still eligible to vote in this state;
  • Prevented from voting in person at the polls on election day and from casting an excused or no-excuse in-person absentee ballot on all days in-person absentee voting is conducted because he or she will be absent from the county of his or her residence all hours and all days excused or no-excuse in person absentee voting is conducted;
  • A participant in the Secretary of State’s crime victim address confidentiality protection program as authorized by KRS 14.312; or
  • Not able to appear at the polls on election day or the days excused or no-excuse in-person absentee voting is conducted on the account of age, disability, or illness, and who has not been declared mentally disabled by a court of competent jurisdiction.

While mail-in ballots make up a large portion of those “voting absentee,” others vote during a time called “excused in-person absentee voting.” Those voters will cast votes Wednesday, May 3 – Wednesday, May 10 at the Barren Clerk’s Office.

Voters must have one of the designated reasons to cast a ballot. Staff at the clerk’s office will verify voters’ eligibility to vote absentee when they arrive to cast a ballot.

The criteria outlined for those voters are:

  • Is a resident of Kentucky who is a covered voter as defined in KRS 117A.010, who will be absent from the county of his or her residence on the day of an election and during the days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting;
  • Has surgery, or whose spouse has surgery, scheduled that will require hospitalization on the day of an election and during the days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting;
  • Temporarily resides outside the state, but is still eligible to vote in this state and will be absent from the county of his or her residence on the day of an election and during the days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting;
  • Is a resident of Kentucky who is a uniformed-service voter as defined in KRS 117A.010 confined to a military base on election day and during the days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting;
  • Is in her last trimester of pregnancy and the voter completes the form that is prescribed by the State Board of Elections, which contains a sworn statement that the voter is in her last trimester of pregnancy at the time she wishes to vote;
  • Has not been declared mentally disabled by a court of competent jurisdiction and, due to age, disability, or illness, is not able to appear at the polls on election day and during the days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting;
  • Is a student who temporarily resides outside the county of his or her residence and will be absent from the county of his or her residence on the day of an election and during the days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting;
  • Any person employed in an occupation that is scheduled to work during all days and all hours, which shall include commute time, the polls are open on election day and during the days of no-excuse in-person absentee voting; or
  • Any election officer tasked with election administration for the current election cycle.​

Access the portal here. It will remain open from Saturday, April 1 to Tuesday, May 2.

Ballots can either be mailed back to the Barren Clerk’s Office or placed in a secure drop-box outside the clerk’s office inside the lobby of the Barren County Government Center.

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