Kentucky Politics

One day before the Oct. 9 deadline, the state says 17.5% of Kentucky registered voters have requested their absentee ballot for the November election, far fewer than the 27% who requested absentee ballots for the June primary.

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams said that’s a good thing.

“That’s right in the sweet spot,” Adams said during Gov. Andy Beshear’s afternoon briefing.That’s enough that we see that it’s working, that the word is getting out, that voters who have concerns are able to utilize this effectively, but it’s also not something that will overwhelm the system.”

Voters have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to request their absentee ballot. They can do so here.

In Fayette County 36% of voters have requested absentee ballots, the highest proportion in the state, according to Adams. Martin County has the lowest proportion, with just 4% requesting absentee ballots. Adams said 625,000 voters have requested so far, and he anticipates that number to grow to 700,000 by the deadline.

The news comes as the state is poised to hit a new weekly record for coronavirus cases. Beshear reported 884 new cases Thursday, and 11 new deaths.

“We are unfortunately on track to have the single largest week, thus far in this epidemic,” Beshear said.

The state’s positivity rate however, went down to 4.1%. Health experts say it’s unsafe to reopen the economy with positivity rates higher than 5%.

Among the sick are 33 residents of the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, and 10 staff. One resident and five staff have recovered.

Beshear urged Kentuckians to wear their masks.

“These things don’t pop up in a nursing home, or other facility, they get there by us not doing what it takes to stop the virus from spreading,” he said.

Beshear said number of cases is creating a challenge for contact tracers, and that it’s “a volume that we’ve got to push down if we are going to be really effective about it.”

In addition, the governor said he has “a little bit of concern that the PPE [personal protective equipment] market may be tightening.”

Beshear Denounces Plotted Kidnapping Of Michigan Governor

Gov. Andy Beshear denounced the plot by an anti-government extremist group to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and compared the planned attack on Whitmer to actions of extreme right-wing groups in Kentucky.

“These groups are not freedom fighters. They are terrorists,” Beshear said during his briefing.

“They hung me in effigy just hundreds of yards from where we are standing on your Capitol grounds,” he said.

“Another man who made threats against me and our Kentucky State Police, was arrested at his home, where he was making grenades,” he said.

However, Beshear said he doesn’t think there is a need for additional security measures at the Capitol or Governor’s Mansion.

He also denounced the so-called “Proud Boys, a white-supremacist group Pres. Donald Trump declined to condemn during the first presidential debate.

“We’ve got to make sure that we fully denouncing,” he said. “If they’re embraced by different leaders, then they’re emboldened, and more likely to cause violence.”

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.