As a state with little experience with vote-by-mail, Kentucky faced many new challenges in June 2020 when it administered a competitive primary election amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After expanding mail-in voting to all eligible voters, over a million people cast ballots in the election and nearly 75% of them did so through mailed absentee ballots. Meanwhile, the state faced some scrutiny as most counties dramatically reduced the number of in-person locations open on Election Day. At least judging from polling place lines, which were only notable in one county, Kentucky’s primary proved more successful than many critics had warned.
Kentucky Election Policies and ReadinessLast updated: August 4, 2020
A Quantitative Dive into Kentucky's 2020 Voting TrendsLast updated: September 10, 2020
10/23/20 - Voter Intimidation: Secretary of State Michael Adams issued guidelines on voter intimidation and how voters and poll workers should handle cases of voter intimidation. The report contains what is and is not allowed at the polling place, and how rules should be enforced at the polls.
10/7/20 - Accessible Voting: Visually impaired voters will now be able to vote absentee without assistance. Voters who opt to use this service will receive a ballot by email and a separate envelope by mail to return their ballot. The deadline to apply for the accessible ballot is October 9th.
9/24/20 - Increased Election Appropriations: Kentucky has passed a nearly $10 million budget for the upcoming election. The bipartisan plan allocates $4 million to postage for absentee ballots, $2.2 million for additional county election workers, $2 million for new equipment, and $1 million for public service announcements. The plan also establishes a call center to answer voter questions.
9/14/20 - Poll Worker Incentives: In an effort to recruit more poll workers, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams announced that attorneys can receive continuing legal education credit by serving as poll workers.
8/22/20 - Absentee Ballot Changes: On August 14, 2020, Kentucky's Secretary of State Michael Adams delivered recommendations for running the November general election in Kentucky, which Governor Beshear has accepted. According to University of Kentucky law professor Josh Douglas, Kentucky has crafted a “good, bipartisan plan” and a “model for how election administration should be done” which will address many of the concerns raised by the June primary. Notable among the changes is that ballots will be accepted up until 6:00 p.m. November 6th as long as it is postmarked on or before November 3rd, and that any citizen concerned about contracting COVID can receive an absentee ballot for November.