Eligible voters may begin casting mail-in absentee ballots in Kentucky’s May 20, 2014, Primary Election. Individuals who may be eligible to vote by mail-in absentee ballot include:
· Military personnel, their dependents, and overseas citizens
· Students who temporarily reside outside the county
· Voters who temporarily reside outside Kentucky (e.g., vacationers)
· Voters who are incarcerated but have not yet been convicted
· Voters whose employment takes them outside the county for all days and hours the polling place is open
· Voters of advanced age or who suffer from disability or illness
· Voters who are participants in the Secretary of State’s Address Confidentiality Program
Voters may request an absentee ballot application from their county clerk in person or via telephone, fax, or email. Applications for mail-in absentee ballots must be received by the clerk’s office by no later than May 13, 2014, and the completed absentee ballot must be received by the county clerk by 6:00 p.m. local time on Election Day.
“Voting is both a right and a responsibility,” said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election official. “I hope as many of Kentucky’s voters as possible will make their voices heard in our Primary Election.”
Under Grimes’ Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), the May 20, 2014, Primary Election is the first Kentucky election in which victims of domestic violence and sexual assault will be able to cast mail-in absentee ballots. In addition to allowing crime victims to vote by mail-in absentee ballot, the ACP also keeps their names and addresses out of publicly available voter records.
Pursuant to another new law championed by Grimes, the identities of absentee voters will not be disclosed until after the election. In the past, absentee ballot applications were subject to open records requests, making absentee voters particularly susceptible to attempts to purchase their votes.
“No voter should be discouraged from voting out of fear for their safety or subjected to any undue influence in casting his or her ballot,” said Grimes. “These new laws help protect the right of all voters to participate in our elections securely and privately and maintain the integrity of Kentucky elections.”
Individuals who do not qualify to vote by mail-in absentee ballot may still be eligible to vote in person prior to Election Day. In-person absentee voting will begin in all counties no later than 12 working days prior to the election, although county boards of elections may permit in-person absentee voting to start earlier. In-person absentee voting is conducted during the county clerk’s regular business hours on voting machines similar to those used on Election Day.
Persons with questions about absentee voting should contact their county clerk or the State Board of Elections.