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Kentucky Primary Election: What to know about voting and absentee ballots

It's an unusual primary election due to COVID-19, and the reduced polling locations, along with the large number of absentee ballots.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — This year's election already has the highest voter turnout of any presidential primary in Jefferson Co. within at least the last 20 years. That's even just with the number of absentee ballots that have been requested, according to the Jefferson Co. Board of Elections. 

It's an unusual primary election due to COVID-19, and the reduced polling locations, along with the large number of absentee ballots, it's caused some confusion. 

"It's been a very strange primary race and it's very different for a lot of people. It's been very different for us. We never would have guessed we'd be conducting a ballot election, basically," Nore Ghibaudy, the Jefferson Co. Board of Elections spokesperson, said.

Registered voters can already vote in-person ahead of Kentucky's June 23 primary elections at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Here's other information to know about the Primary Elections:

Where can I vote in-person?

Jefferson County's polling location for this year's election will be at 937 Phillips Lane at the Kentucky Fairgrounds. It will be open for early in-person voting on weekdays through Monday, June 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also cast your ballot at the Election Center in the Edison Building at 701 W. Ormsby. On Election Day, the Expo Center will be the only polling location and will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"It's massive, and we definitely have social distancing for that entire process," Ghibaudy said. 

At the fairgrounds, you can enter through Gates 2, 4, and 6. Parking will be free through election day. TARC will be offering free rides. There will also be a shuttle in the parking lot of the Expo Center to assist voters closer to the doors. 

Ghibaudy said if you can get out and cast your ballot ahead of Tuesday, do it, because he doesn't know what the crowds will look like. 

"We have no idea. We have no idea whatsoever. There are 616,525 registered voters here in Jefferson Co.," Ghibaudy said. "Why wait until Election Day?

RELATED: Early voting in Kentucky primary starts June 15

What if I requested an absentee ballot?

The deadline to request an absentee ballot has passed. If you requested one, either through the Jefferson Co. Clerk’s application process, or Kentucky’s online portal, you should receive your ballot in the mail. All ballots being sent to registered voters who have requested one have been mailed as of Tuesday at midnight.

“We mailed out just under 55,000 ballots. We had to get everything done that had been requested through application, process return, or through the portal, they had to be mailed out before midnight last night,” Ghibaudy said.

Ghibaudy said about one-third of registered voters in Kentucky requested an absentee ballot this primary election. Last year, only about 1,200 were sent out. He said voters should receive theirs in the mail within the next few days, no later than Election Day.

“The best thing to do is mark your ballot and definitely sign your signatures on the envelopes and put it in the mail,” Ghibaudy said.

You have until Tuesday, June 23 at midnight to get your ballot postmarked for it to be counted.

What if I haven’t received my absentee ballot yet or I think there’s something wrong with it?

“If you haven't received your ballot yet, just be patient. They're all in the mail,” Ghibaudy said Wednesday.

With the two different processes to request an absentee ballot this year, some people requested one both ways, which slowed down the verification process.

“If there is a problem on Election Day and you don’t have it by then, I would show up. We’ll take care of that. You’ll sign an affidavit saying you didn’t vote, and they’ll scan in the one you have right then and there,” Ghibaudy said.

Kentucky is a closed primary state, meaning you have to be registered as a Democrat or Republican and vote that party’s ticket. If you believe you received the wrong ticket in the mail, Ghibaudy said you can also bring it to the Exposition Center where election officials can verify what you’re registered as.

If you are voting in the 26th district, you can vote as Independent for the special election.

RELATED: Checks, balances | How Kentucky protects mail-in ballots

Can I drop-off my absentee ballot instead of mailing?

There will be two locations to drop off absentee ballots. They are located at both the Exposition Center and the Election Center, in the same areas where in-person voting is taking place. The drop-off boxes are only available during voting hours and they are located inside so they can be monitored by security at all times.

Will we find out the results on Election Day?

With this year’s unusual primary voting, the State Board of Elections has asked each county to report their results by June 30. With a large number of absentee ballots, the process of scanning the ballots will take longer.

“It gives us until June 27 to receive those ballots, open those ballots, and with a bipartisan team, scan them. So everyone has that opportunity to vote, who mailed their ballot on that day,” Ghibaudy said. “We want everybody's vote to be counted.”

On June 30, the Jefferson Co. Board of Elections will report its results to the Kentucky Board of Elections. The state board will then post results at some point that day.

RELATED: TARC to Provide Primary Election Day Shuttle Service from Union Station

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