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Primary election postponed until June

Kentucky’s presidential primary election is among the latest in the country, and this year, it’s going to be even later.

Unless another state reschedules it’s election, it will also be the last.

On Monday, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican, and Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, jointly decided to move Kentucky’s party primaries from May 19 to June 23 because of concerns about the coronavirus.

In a video on Twitter, Adams said “these are unprecedented times,” and “Kentuckians are having to change the way we do things on all fronts. Kentucky law allows the secretary of state and the governor to jointly act to change the time of an election due to a state of emergency.”

Only five states and the District of Columbia were originally scheduled to have their primaries after Kentucky. Now, 11 party nominating contests are scheduled for June, but none later than Kentucky’s.

Clark County Democratic Chairman Henry Branham said the party nominees are usually decided by late May anyway.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s only serious remaining challenger is Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and President Donald Trump is the only Republican on the ballot.

There are 10 Democrats, eight Republicans and one Libertarian in Kentucky running for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s seat, and two Democrats, three Republicans and one Libertarian running for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky.

In state legislative races, Ryan Dotson of Winchester is challenging incumbent state Rep. Les Yates for the Republican nomination in the 73rd District House seat, and two Democrats, Kenny Blair and Rory Houlihan, are vying for the Democratic nomination.

“I was on board the minute it was announced” that the date would be changed, Branham said. “This thing is real … and it’s scary.”

Clark County Republican Chairman Tim Janes could not be reached for comment before deadline for The Sun’s print edition.

Deputy County Clerk John Ballard said April 20 was supposed to be the last day people could register to vote in the Kentucky primaries, but the deadline has been moved to 4 p.m. May 26.

Currently, the Clark County Clerk’s office is closed to the public. If people want to register, they have to do so online at GoVoteKy.com, or phone or write in and asked for a ballot to be mailed.

Ballard said the absentee voting machine was supposed to have opened in the clerk’s office April 14.

“I’m not sure when it’s going to be now,” he said.

Kentucky allows absentee ballots are for certain categories of people, such as those who are going to be out of the county on Election Day, students away at college, people with disabilities or the elderly.

Ballard said the county could see a spike in absentee voting by the elderly because they are at a greater risk of serious illness or death from the virus.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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