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You can vote in person if your absentee ballot hasn't arrived, Secretary of State says

The board also changed regulations, allowing people who have not received their absentee ballots to fully vote in-person during Kentucky's Election Day.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — All absentee ballots have been sent out, but those who do not get their ballots can still vote in person, Executive Director of State Board of Elections Jared Dearing said.

Dearing said the board has not heard any major complaints from voters during a special meeting Monday, but did say some counties with large numbers of absentee requests took at least a week to send out ballots.

The board also changed some regulations surrounding absentee ballots as the state sees more votes by mail than ever before amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

If a voter has requested but not received an absentee ballot by Tuesday, the board said they can appear at the county's polling location to vote in-person. They must tell an election officer, who will contact the county clerk's office to cancel the voter's absentee ballot from the registration system so there is not a possibility of voting twice.

If they are deemed illegible to vote, they can fill out a provisional ballot or request a hearing with their county's board of elections. Secretary of State Michael Adams said without the regulation, any voter who says they did not get an absentee could only fill out a provisional ballot.

"We're not hearing widespread reports of voters not having received their ballots yet, but if that is the case we want to make sure we're ensuring those voters have access," Dearing said.

The board also voted to allow county clerks to send any ballots sent to the wrong clerk to its correct clerk no later than June 27. Absentee ballots sent in must still be postmarked by June 23.

Because so many votes are coming from absentee ballots, the board said only the results from Tuesday's in-person voting will be given on Election Day.

Thus far, 88,000 people have voted in-person during the early voting period and at least 883,000 people have requested absentee ballots. Around 540,000 absentee ballots have returned, and Dearing said they are expecting a majority of absentee ballots to come in within the next several days.

"In this election, the vast majority of votes received will take place between mail-in absentee balloting or through early in-person voting," Dearing said.

Unofficial results for the state will be released June 30. The state has requested county boards hold off on results until June 30, though counties can release results whenever they want.

Kentucky's primary has gained national attention as people questioned if the state was suppressing voters, specifically Black voters, because only one polling place is open in each county.

Dearing said there is a lot misinformation regarding voting, specifically pointing to comments that 600,000 people in Jefferson County will have to vote at one polling place.

"[We're] very far from trying to suppress the vote, [we're] trying to make it easier to vote, we're trying to make sure that people have many opportunities to vote," Chairman Ben Chandler said. "And we expect that the result of that will be a record number of votes cast."

In Louisville, early voting has taken place at the Expo Center starting June 15, and at the Edison Building starting June 8. People can continue early voting Monday until 4:30 p.m. On Election Day, voters must go to the Expo Center between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

For more information on Tuesday's primary, visit the 2020 Primary Voter Guide.

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