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90 of 120 Kentucky Counties file to change Primary Election Day plans

Coronavirus concerns will change the way Kentuckians go to the polls on June 23 and clerks new answers on how to move forward.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentuckians are five weeks from the state's delayed Primary Election and county clerks are anxious for an answer from the State Board of Elections. The Board must approve changes to how counties handle the day.

Tuesday, board members were not quite ready to approve plans. We learned that 90 of the Commonwealth's 120 counties have filed plans for how they'll manage in unusual times.

"As a result (of restrictions) we want to get as many people to vote absentee or vote by mail as possible”, said Kentucky Board of Elections Chairman, Ben Chandler.

During their Zoom meeting, Chandler and others continued to stress the importance of voting by absentee. They were notified that clerks are already seeing a large number of absentee ballot requests even as voters await a postcard due out later this week. 

That postcard will explain the process and an online portal to streamline the request process. The portals is set to be ready later this week.

“I normally only get 3,000 ballots in a presidential year for the general and I'm already at 4,000 for the primary”, explained Gabrielle Summe. She is the Kenton County Clerk and represented the Kentucky County Clerk's Association at the meeting.

Board of Elections Executive Director Jared Dearing said that the portal was being tested to make sure it is ready for the heavy traffic expected it goes live for voters to request an absentee ballot.

“I think it goes without saying that it is absolutely crucial that this portal work”, Chandler explained.

Time will tell if it's ready, but no action to approve county’s plans at this meeting has clerks up against the clock and feeling the pressured.

“If you have to approve my spot, I need to know sooner rather than later to be able to know that I'm good to go as far as my location for election day”, Gabrielle Summe told the Board.

“We will try to get to that very, very, quickly”, Chairman Chandler responded. “But I don't think we can get it today because we have too many that are not yet done and we’re not sure what right now can be approved and what can’t.”

Something that cannot be stressed enough, if you intend to vote by absentee is that you read the instructions.

RELATED: Kentucky Primary 2020 voter guide: How to register, get an absentee ballot and where to get election results

You'll have to sign and seal two envelopes. Elections officials stress that your identifying information will be confirmed then removed from the envelopes before your ballot is processed, so your vote will remain anonymous.

RELATED: Kentucky Expo Center to be Jefferson County's only primary election site

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