FRANKFORT, Ky. — Absentee ballots for the 2020 general election are now available for Kentucky voters. If a voter is hesitant about voting in-person because of the coronavirus pandemic, they can request a ballot online.
The ballot request form is on the state’s Voter Information Portal at GoVoteKY.com.
Through a new plan organized by Governor Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams, the eligibility requirements for requesting an absentee ballot have been expanded for 2020.
Voters who meet any of the following criteria are eligible for an absentee ballot:
- Person unable to go to the polls on election day because of age, disability, health or concerns about COVID-19
- Student temporarily living outside the county they’re registered to vote in
- Person who temporarily lives out of state, but is still eligible to vote in Kentucky
- Person who is incarcerated and has been charged with a crime, but has not been convicted
- Person who is unable to vote in the county they are registered in because of their job
- Military personnel confined to a military base on election day
Once a voter selects their reason for needing an absentee ballot, they will fill out the rest of the form, including identity and contact information. Then they will double-check that the listed address is correct, add an e-signature, and submit the request.
In Jefferson County, absentee ballots started printing on Sept. 19 and more than 500,000 ballots have been requested. Ballots are in the process of being mailed out.
If you have any questions about your absentee ballot, contact your local county clerk's office.
Absentee ballots must be postmarked by election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, and must be received by county clerks by Nov. 6 at 6 p.m.
For those concerned about mailing in their ballot, county clerk’s offices will have secure drop-boxes set up in the weeks leading up to election day.
In Jefferson County, absentee ballots can be dropped off at the following locations from Oct. 13 through Nov. 3:
- Kentucky Exposition Center, Fairgrounds North Wing, 937 Phillips Lane
- KFC Yum! Center, Foyer, Main & 2nd St.
- Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
- Louisville Marriott East, 1903 Embassy Square Blvd., Commonwealth Ballroom
All of these locations will have free parking. Ballots can also be dropped at the Jefferson County Clerk's Office Election Center at 701 West Ormsby Avenue starting Sept. 21.
On Election Day, ballots must be dropped off no later than 6 p.m.
In-person voting locations will be announced by each county clerk's office closer to election day. Through the plan created by Beshear and Adams, each county will be required to have at least one polling location open for in-person voters.
The Kentucky Board of Elections approved the new regulations for this year’s election on Aug. 20. In addition to the expanded availability of absentee ballots, three weeks of early in-person voting will begin on Oct. 13, with polls open for three Saturdays before election day.
Secretary of State Michael Adams estimates that 40% of voters will cast their ballot absentee in the upcoming general election, compared to about 2% in previous elections.
For Kentucky's primary election in June, absentee ballots accounted for about 85% of total votes, with in-person votes coming in at 15%.