Ky. Secretary of State claims no excuse absentee voting unlikely in the fall

(Brandon Jarrett)
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 3:26 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 at 7:56 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Under 100 days are left until the November General Election. The Kentucky Secretary of State will soon lay out his plans for voters, adding some things may not be quite the same as they were in the primary.

Secretary Michael Adams said he wants more polling places, quicker results, and doesn't think the state should see the same level of absentee voting.

“We’re trying to ensure that we have a lot of voters voting absentee,” Adams said, during a Frankfort committee hearing this week. “That helps us protect people. That also helps us not overcrowd the polling sites. But, if we have too many people voting absentee, like 75 percent, like we did in the primary, that might be too much that could blow the system.”

Adams said there are three possibilities for absentee balloting in Kentucky. First, follow current law, which allows for only eight or nine types of people to have excuses to vote absentee. Second, no-excuse absentee voting, where all are allowed to cast an absentee ballot like the June primary. Third, somewhere in the middle.

Kentucky State Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) said every option to vote should be made available to every Kentuckian, including in-person, absentee and early voting. McGarvey said clerks’ offices should be preparing for that and receive additional funds to help do it.

“Absentee voting works,” McGarvey said. “We have record turnouts in the primary. We need to see those record turnouts again in the fall, plus who knows where we will be with COVID come November.”

Other groups like the ACLU of Kentucky agree and have taken legal action asking for no-excuse absentee voting in November. Advocacy Director Kate Miller said, not only are people concerned about their health right now but may have trouble voting for other reasons, like a lack of child care.

“As you know, during this interview, I have a small little human running around on the floor because her daycare is not open,” Miller said. “So, [it’s] even beyond the risk of someone contracting COVID-19.”

Adams said he will lay out his election plan in early August, possibly as soon as next week.

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