In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock — or sleeping off Derby weekend — you may have missed that the 2022 primary election has started already.
That’s right — because of new election laws, we now have three days of early voting. And, you can take advantage of them without any sort of excuse other than you want to vote early.
And if you CAN’T vote next Tuesday, you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity. I am going to vote early, because I’m a poll worker next Tuesday.
Here, then, are some facts you need to know.
Every county clerk in the state has set up certain locations for early voting. In some counties there may be only one place, such as the clerk’s office or somewhere in the courthouse. In other counties, there will be multiple locations. (Louisville has six, for example.)
The standard hours for the locations to be open would be 8 am to 6 pm on Thursday (today), Friday, and Saturday. Check with your county clerk’s office to find out the locations and if the times are different.
Voting for just one person
You do NOT have to vote the entire ballot. If you only want to vote in one race, you can do that.
You need to bring a photo ID with you to vote (with one exception noted below). Your KY driver’s license will work, as will military, college, and government IDs. (If you don’t have any of these, you can get a state-issued ID card at your county clerk’s office – but you’d better hurry.)
If you don’t have a photo ID, you can sign a form at the polls and vote if you have any of these:
- A Social Security card
- An ID card of any kind that includes your photo and your name
- A food stamp, electronic benefit transfer or supplemental nutrition assistance cards that list your name
- A credit or debit card that lists your name
Notice I said there is one exception to the ID requirement – if a poll worker knows you personally, and they are willing to vouch for you.
Kentucky has closed primaries, which means you can only vote in the partisan races that match your registered party. If you are a registered independent, you cannot vote in partisan races. BUT, everyone can vote for judges. (Be sure to turn your ballot over to vote for judges!)
If you’ve voted before, you probably remember the poll books: binders with page after page of ledger pages with all the registered voters in the precinct. Well, the paper poll books are now a thing of the past.
Instead, election officials are now using e-poll books, that look you up based (normally) by scanning your driver’s license, and then giving you a place to sign so you can get your paper ballot. It’s MUCH faster than the old way, and it allows for voter centers where people can vote no matter their precinct.
Your polling location
For voting on Election Day, be sure to check your polling location. Due to redistricting it may have changed.
You SHOULD have received a post card in the last week with your current location. If you did, be sure to pay attention to it. If you did not, go to GoVoteKY.org and check your registration. It should show your polling location.
Or, go to the State Board of Elections site to see all the polling locations for your county.
Voting absentee by mail
The deadline to request an absentee ballot has passed. At this point, you can either vote during the early voting days at one of the early voting locations, OR you can vote on Election Day as normal.
If you have received your absentee ballot and are ready to use it to vote, here are some things to remember:
- Two of your signatures are required on both the brown inside envelope and the outside white envelope.
- You can return the ballot at the election dropbox set up by your county clerk or election board. Note that the dropbox may only be accessible at certain times; check with your clerk's office.
- Or, you can mail the ballot through regular mail. Remember, postage is required; you'll need $1.36 of postage, which is three first-class stamps.
- Whether you use the dropbox or the U.S. mail, the deadline is the same: Tuesday, May 17 (dropped into the dropbox before it closes for the day, or postmarked by Tuesday, May 17). Dropping it into an outside mailbox on Election Day is NOT a good idea; you can't be sure as to when the last pull from the mailbox occurs. Much better to get there before the counter closes and hand it to a post office employee, asking them to postmark it ASAP.