Pulaski County Board of Elections has submitted a modified plan to the State Board of Elections for voting leading up to and including June 23, the delayed Primary Election Day because of the COVID-19 pandemic. County Clerk Linda Burnett, chair of the local board of elections, said the plan must be approved by the State Board of Elections and deadline for the plan's approval is Friday, May 22.
Burnett said the main difference in the modified plan is adding Southwestern High School to the five super precinct locations in the original plan for in-person voting on Primary Election Day. The reason, she said, is because of the heavy populated area near Southwestern High School.
Highlights of the voting plan are establishing six voting places, or six super precincts, where in-person voting will be done Election Day. Locations of super precincts are: Nancy Elementary School, 240 Ky. 196; Southwestern High School, 1755 WTLO Road; Southern Middle School, 198 Southern School Road; Shopville Elementary School, 10 Shopville Road; Science Hill Elementary School, 6007 North U.S. 27; and Hal Rogers Fire Training Center, 340 Oak Leaf Lane.
Any registered voter in Pulaski County may go to any of the six voting stations and vote Election Day. There are no precinct or geographical designations. All six polling stations will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Election Day. These six locations will be the only in-person voting places on Election Day.
There also will be early voting. Pulaski County Board of Elections, according to a state mandate, has established Hal Rogers Fire Training Center, located off Oak Leaf Lane near Northern Middle School, where in-person voting will begin Monday, June 8 and continue through June 22. The voting place at the fire training center will be open each weekday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On both Saturday, June 13 and Saturday, June 20, the voting center will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Also, on Saturday, June 20 there will be an additional early voting center, drive-through only, at Rocky Hollow Recreation Center off South Central Avenue from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Unlike previous absentee voting when a voter had to sign a statement they would not be able to vote on Election Day, during the 2020 primaries voters are not required to have a reason to vote in person. Any registered voter in Pulaski County may go to the in-person voting centers and vote prior to Election Day.
In the local board of elections plan for the 2020 primaries is mail-in voting. A potential voter may call the county clerk's office (679-2042) and request an absentee application. The voter will be mailed an application form which should be filled out and immediately mailed back to the county clerk's office. Once the application has been completed and mailed to the clerk's office, the potential voter will be mailed a voting ballot. The mailings, in self-addressed envelopes, are postage free, paid for by the state.
A voter's marked ballot may be mailed to the clerk's office or hand delivered to any of the three county clerk's office locations, and put in a drop box.
No ballots will be mailed after June 16. The last day a return ballot may be postmarked is June 23. The clerk's office will receive and count any ballot received through June 27 as long as the ballot is postmarked on or before June 23.
Also, the State Board of Elections very soon will open an election portal where a potential voter may go online and request a ballot by mail.
Dwight Sears, a Somerset-based member of the State Board of Elections, said the state board is working out final details for voting in all 120 counties.
Sears said each of Kentucky's 3.4 million registered voters should receive a postcard explaining exact steps to follow. He said each county " ... encourages early absentee voting prior to Election Day." With more than 48,000 registered voters, Burnett worries a heavy absentee vote may overwhelm deputy clerks in her office. She has encouraged in-person voting at designated precincts.
"Details are still being worked out and being finalized through each county clerk and local boards of election. You will have options to call the clerk’s office and/or go online to request ballots via the state portal," Sears pointed out.
The State Board of Elections member emphasized " ... EVERY vote cast will be kept confidential." He continued: "A special shoutout to all (county) clerks and their teams. They’re doing the best they can with the challenges and resources given to them. Will it be easy? Probably not, but it won’t be from lack of effort. We are very blessed to have amazing clerks, clerk teams, and local boards.”
Dates to remember:
May 26th - Last day to register for primary election
June 16th - Last day to apply for mail-in absentee ballot