At a press briefing Thursday, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes gave her turnout prediction for next week’s election, and shared updates on statistics and other election information.
Based on a comparison of absentee ballots received this year versus 2014, Grimes predicts a turnout similar to that midterm: 46% of registered voters. As she noted, though, “I hope the voters of Kentucky prove me wrong. I hope they are not satisfied with almost 60% of our voters sitting at home and not voting.”
- The state is now at 3.4 million registered voters, which is a record.
- 1.6 million are Democratic, 1.4 million Republican. The rest are others (Libertarian, Independent, and others)
- 53% of the registered voters are women.
- Since primary, we have gained 35,000 new voters. Of note – there are 9,000 new voters in the 6th Congressional district.
- Check your registration at GoVoteKY.com. You can also use that site to locate your polling location, including directions to it from your home. AND, you can use it look at a sample ballot.
- To vote in Kentucky, you must either be known to the precinct election officers, or bring a valid form of ID. Typically this is your driver’s license, but can be other forms of identification with a picture and a signature.
- There are 3,719 precincts across the state, served by over 15,000 precinct election officers. There was a shortage of about 500 precinct workers in the primary, which required some emergency officers to be assigned. The shortage looks to be less for the general, but won’t be known for certain until the weekend when county boards of elections turn in their list of workers.
- All equipment across the state has been audited and checked for accuracy.
- There are no registered vote challengers in this year’s election. Challengers are persons who can challenge a voter’s residence or registration. They are chosen by the local parties, who are allowed one per precinct. They must register and attend training.
- The state law has changed on electioneering. You may not campaign, hold a sign, or place a sign within 100 feet of a polling place, which includes county courthouses.
- You may take a ballot selfie – but it must contain only you. It can’t include anyone else, or identify anyone else at the polling place.
Absentee voting notes
- As of Monday, more than 30,000 people had voted in-person absentee, and another 24,000 mail-in ballots had been sent to persons who requested them.
- The last day to request a mail-in absentee ballot is past, so your only option now is to do in-person absentee voting at your local board of elections or county clerk. Note that the categories of persons allowed to vote absentee has expanded this year. You can find the list of categories on the SOS web site.
- Note that the names of persons voting absentee is confidential, both so they won’t be intimidated or coerced ahead of voting, and so their property won’t be at risk by someone knowing they are going to be gone on election day.
- Military and overseas voters are allowed to vote by mail-in absentee ballot, and over 2,000 such persons are participating in this year’s election.
- Absentee voting is slightly ahead of this point in 2014, with some counties showing significant increases. Here is a map of the change from 2014 to 2018 in absentee voting as of Monday, October 29. (Yellow to red indicates drop in absentee voting, green indicates increase, with dark green being greatest increase.)
- Electronic poll books are being used in more precincts this election. They replace the paper poll books used in the past, but the paper books will be available if needed as a backup. At least one precinct in almost every county will be using the new electronic pollbooks. Why use these? They are more accurate, and also safer, since previous practice required sending everything through the mail and hoping it arrived on time and in good shape.
- Grimes feels confident that they have addressed the security concerns, but urges people to call 1-800-328-VOTE if you see anything that gives you concern.
- One important note: If you arrive at your polling location and there is a problem with your registration, you can cast a provisional ballot, but only for Federal elections. A better approach may be to contact your local board of elections, who will be available all of election day to address concerns and hear appeals.