By Ralph Dickerson
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear postponed the Kentucky primary election to June 23. The last day to register to vote in the primary election is May 26, 2020. Residents are urged to go to govoteky.com to ensure their registration is correct, or call Hancock County Clerk Trina Ogle’s office at 270.927.6117 to check registration.
At this time, the Hancock County Administration Building, which houses the Hancock County Clerk’s Office, is closed. Ogle said with the Administration Building being closed, the Clerk’s office is automatically closed.
“We cannot open until we get our social distancing measures in place,” Ogle said. “If the building opens before we have our Plexiglas installed, then we cannot open until we can implement the Healthy At Work initiatives the governor has set up.”
The building being closed affects the process of county residents receiving an absentee ballot as a person simply cannot walk into the County Clerk’s office and pick one up at this time. Residents wanting to vote in the primary election need to call Ogle’s office and request an application for an absentee ballot, at which point an application will be mailed to the voter. The resident needs to fill out the application for the absentee ballot, and mail the application back to Ogle’s office, at which point a ballot will be mailed to the voter.
In addition, the State Board of Election plans on sending a post card to registered voters in the county informing them of these election changes, and how to get a ballot. Residents need to watch for this post card as it contains vital information for the primary election voting process.
After May 25, online applications are available at govoteky.com. The resident must complete the application online, and the application will be sent to Ogle’s office electronically, at which point an absentee ballot will be mailed to the voter. Once the resident receives the ballot, it must be completed and postmarked no later than June 23, 2020.
The last day to apply for a ballot to be sent to a resident via mail is June 15. After that date the resident must call Ogle’s office and request an appointment to pick up a ballot in person. The resident must complete the ballot and mail it back to Ogle’s office, or use a drop box designed for the election.
Ogle said at this time the County Clerk’s office does not have the drop box. Ogle said when the office receives the box she will publicize its location. She knows it will be inside the Administration Building, but that is all for now.
“We do not have all that lined out yet,” Ogle said. “It’s got to be monitored by video camera, or we have to put it where we can see it from our office. We will probably do both.”
Ogle said all mailed ballots would go through a signature match for security reasons before being counted.
As normal, there will be a polling location at the clerk’s office for people not able to vote by mail. An appointment must be made to vote on this machine. It is available from June 8 until Election Day on June 23.
One big change exists this year not related to the COVID-19 pandemic; the state changed the candidate-filing deadline for offices on the November General Election. In the past the deadline was in August. Now it is June 2 by 4 p.m.
“The law changed last year,” Ogle said. “It went into effect in 2019.”
The Primary Election Ballot contains three races for the Republicans, and two for the Democrats. President Trump runs unopposed in the race for President in the Republican primary. Seven candidates filed to run against incumbent U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. Running against McConnell is Wendell K. Crow, Paul John Frangedakis, Louis Grider, Naren James, Kenneth Lowndes, C. Wesley Morgan and Nicholas Alsager. Kathleen L. Free filed to run against Second U.S Congressional District Representative S. Brett Guthrie.
No Democrat filed for the Second U.S. Congressional District Representative seat. The Presidential primary contains 11 Democrats on the ballot, but all of them except Joe Biden have since withdrawn from the race. Candidates for U.S. Senator include Charles Booker, Mike Broihier, Maggie Jo Hilliard, Andrew J. Maynard, Amy McGrath, Eric Rothmuller, John R. Sharpensteen, Bennie J. Smith, Mary Ann Tobin and Jimmy C. Ausbrooks.
The General Election takes place on November 3, 2020. Local offices on the ballot includes all council seats for Lewisport and Hawesville, Lewisport Mayor and school board seats from district 2, 4 and 5. Currently Donna Quattrocchi represents district 2, Ricky Johnson district 4 and David Emmick district 5. As mentioned earlier, the deadline to file for these seats is now June 2, 2020 by 4 p.m.
Kentucky Educational Television plans to host two candidate forum shows on Kentucky Tonight. The first show takes place on May 27 at 7 p.m. Central Time. Candidates on this show include Republicans Andy Barr running for the Sixth Congressional District, Brett Guthrie Second Congressional District, Gerardo Serrano Fifth Congressional District and C. Wesley Morgan for U.S. Senate. Democrat Alexandra Owensby running for the Fourth Congressional District will also be on the show.
The second show takes place on June 1. Democrat candidates for the U.S. Senate include Amy McGrath, Charles Booker and Mike Broihier. Democrat candidates for the Sixth Congressional District include Daniel Kemph and Josh Hicks. Todd McMurty is the Republican candidate for the Fourth Congressional District.
Viewers that wish to ask questions or make comments may email [email protected], or use the message forum at KET.org/kytonight, according to the press release from Kentucky Tonight. Twitter users can submit questions or comments at [email protected] To phone in questions or comments, call 800.494.7605. All questions or comments must include a person’s first and last name, and the town or county in which he or she resides.