It is a breath of fresh air.
A Republican secretary of state and a Democrat governor have put politics aside and crafted a plan for the November 3 General Election that makes all kinds of sense.
Secretary of State Michael Adams and Governor Andy Beshear have agreed on how the vitally important election should be conducted in Kentucky. It’s an example of nonpartisan politics that should be replicated at the federal level.
Major parts of the election plan:
• Any voter of any age or health condition who believes he or she is at risk from COVID-19 may vote absentee ballot. Eligibility to vote absentee also extends to voters who are in contact with such vulnerable voters.
• Early in-person voting will begin on October 13, and will include Saturday voting.
• Photo ID to Vote, Secretary Adams’ signature legislative initiative, will be implemented, but limited relief is granted: Any person who is not able to get a Photo ID due to COVID-19 will be able to vote with a non-photo ID. Also, absentee voters who have a Photo ID but are not able to provide a copy of it will be able to vote.
• The voter registration portal that was such a success in June, will open again and link to Kentucky’s drivers license database.
• Counties planning to reduce Election Day voting locations will need approval of the governor and secretary of state.
• All counties will count and report all votes received, including absentee votes, on election night.
Nowhere in the Election Plan is there encouragement to vote by mail-in ballot. If you need to vote by mail-in ballot you can, but more in-person voting opportunities are there. Heavy mail-in voting during the June primaries apparently overwhelmed some county clerk’s offices and the U.S. Post Office.
We don’t know for sure, but rumor has it part of the new plan was influenced by Pulaski County’s successful primaries. Pulaski County Board of Elections’ six Super Precincts, it’s absentee vote counting committee that tabulated absentee ballots as they were received through the mail and other pandemic innovations allowed the nearly 17,000 voters to cast ballots without lines at polling places and thousands of absentee ballots to be counted on time. Pulaski County was one of a few counties in the state that released unofficial totals on election night.
Plans the Pulaski County Board of Elections are working on now include increasing the number of Super Precincts from six to 10 during November 3 voting. This would allow some precincts in more distant areas of the county to have easy access to in-person voting.
Super Precincts locations during the June 23 primaries were at Hal Rogers Fire Training Center, Science Hill Elementary School, Old Shopville gymnasium (same location at the former Shopville voting place), Southern Elementary School, Southwestern High School and Nancy Elementary School. Any registered voter in Pulaski County may go to any of the Super Precincts and vote.
We like Governor Beshear’s executive order that keeps early voting for the upcoming election. Mark Vaught, election coordinator for Pulaski County, said plans locally for early voting call for it to begin October 13 at two places –– at Hal Rogers Fire Training Center and at a place in the southern part of the county, probably at Somerset Mall.
We are impressed and apparently folks at the state level took notice of the way Pulaski County Board of Elections successfully conducted the June 23 primaries under extremely difficult COVID-19 pandemic conditions.
There’s little reason to believe it won’t happen again during the November 3 General Election.
THE COMMONWEALTH JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD consists of Mark Walker, General Manager; Jeff Neal, Editor; Steve Cornelius, Sports Editor; Bill Mardis, Editor Emeritus; Mary Ann Flynn, Advertising; Shirley Randall, Production and Chris Harris, Staff Writer.