Politics

Monday is the deadline to register to vote in Kentucky’s primary elections this year, which include races for governor, state attorney general and a handful of other statewide offices.

Only those who registered as a Republican or Democrat are allowed to cast ballots in the primary contests and those who have changed parties since January 1 this year can’t participate.

Would-be voters need to take one more step to participate in the primaries—by making sure they’re officially registering to vote.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election officer, encouraged eligible voters to sign up online or with their local county clerk.

“We want everybody who’s eligible to be part of this decision-making process, it begins by taking that first step to have your voice heard,” Grimes said.

This year’s elections include governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state auditor, agriculture commissioner and treasurer.

The primary election is on May 21st.

Voter participation has been low during the elections for Kentucky’s constitutional offices, which take place in odd-numbered years. Elections for federal offices like president or

congressional seats take place during even-numbered years and generate higher turnout.

During the 2015 gubernatorial primary, just 12.5 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. Turnout was higher during the general election in November—about 30.6 percent.

Grimes, who is term-limited and not running for any office this year, said that Kentuckians need to make their voices heard.

“What I have seen over the course of my near eight years, we have a few people showing up to the polls determining what’s going to happen for all of us,” Grimes said.

County clerks’ offices across the state will accept online and paper applications until 4 p.m. local time on April 22. Mail-in applications must be postmarked by April 22.

You can register or make sure you’re registered at GoVoteKy.com. Those registered Independent or as a member of a third-party cannot vote in Kentucky primary contests.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.