By Ralph Dickerson
County residents planning to vote in this year’s primary election need to request an absentee ballot to cast their ballot. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual polling stations in the county will not be open on election day. Voters must vote by absentee ballot, and mail in their ballot by June 23, or make an appointment to vote on the voting machine in Ogle’s office on election day. Details on how this process works follows.
To receive an absentee ballot by mail, 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. After checking registration, a ballot is automatically sent to the resident. The resident needs to fill out the ballot and send it in no later than June 23, 2020. Residents need to check their registration now to get an absentee ballot so they can vote in this year’s primary election.
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.
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, on-line applications are available at govoteky.com. The resident must complete the application on-line, 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.”
In the Republican primary election, 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.
In the Democrat primary, the race for president 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.