Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams have announced changes to the November General Election that will expand mail-in voting, early voting and give the state more oversight over how many polling locations are open on Election Day.
Gov. Beshear signed an executive order on Friday putting the changes in place.
Unlike the June primary election, when every Kentuckian was allowed to cast a ballot by mail without an excuse, mail-in voting will be allowed for people who are “concerned with contracting or spreading the coronavirus,” the officials said during a press conference on Friday.
Adams said that the state won’t be encouraging everyone to vote by mail, but it will ultimately be up to voters to determine how to cast their ballots.
“If you’re concerned about your health, you can vote absentee. You don’t have to tell your county clerk or me or anyone else what your health condition is,” Adams said.
Voters will also be able to cast ballots early in person in every county Monday through Saturday starting on Oct. 13 and every county will have drop off boxes for people to turn in their ballots in person if they don’t want to do so by mail.
In-person voting will also be available on Nov. 3, Election Day. Beshear and Adams said that every county will be required to have at least one “super center” voting location, but they expect there to be more in-person locations available than during the June primary election.
In June, most Kentucky counties, including the state’s largest, only had one polling location. Ahead of the November election, local election officials will have to submit plans for in-person voting that will have to be approved by Beshear and Adams’ offices.
Beshear said that expanded mail-in voting and early voting will make in-person voting safer on Election Day.
“You can pick your time, we can significantly decrease the density. And for those that want to vote in person, we highly encourage people to vote in that three-week period before Election Day itself. I think it will also make Election Day go smoother,” Beshear said.
The plan also provides a reprieve from Kentucky’s new voter ID law—people who vote by mail will not be required to attach a copy of a photo ID to their ballot and people who vote in person, but don’t have a photo ID will be required to sign an affidavit in order to vote.
The changes to Kentucky’s election process comes amid worries about the postal system’s ability to handle an influx of mail-in ballots across the country this year, and whether the federal government will boost funding for it.
Adams said that he hopes people will cast their ballots early, either in person or by mail to alleviate pressure on the system.
“If you put too much pressure on any one leg of that stool, then the stool snaps,” Adams said.
The portal to request a mail-in ballot will be available in a week, the officials said. Meanwhile, they are also seeking people to volunteer as poll workers. You can volunteer to be a poll worker at GoVoteKy.com