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Voter registration deadline Oct. 5

Those who haven’t yet registered to vote in the Nov. 3 general election are running out of time.

The last day to register, either at the County Clerk’s Office or online, is Monday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m.

Eligible voters may register online at GoVoteKy.com. The office in the courthouse is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, but by state law, the cut-off for registration is 4 p.m.

The Oct. 5 deadline applies to new registrations or any change to registration, such as an address change.

The last day to request an absentee ballot to vote by mail is Friday, Oct. 9.

However, eligible citizens may vote by absentee ballot on a machine at the courthouse until the day before the election.

County Clerk Michelle Turner, in a Facebook Live interview Thursday with Lauren Frazer, president of the Winchester-Clark County Chamber of Commerce, encouraged people to vote early.

“I do think the lines are going to be long on Election Day,” she said, and with two constitutional amendment questions on the ballot for voters to read, “it’s going to be very time-consuming.”

“So I’m trying to get everyone to do the mail-in ballot or do the early voting at the courthouse,” Turner said.

Because of the coronavirus epidemic, people won’t be voting at their usual precincts, just as they did not during the primary, which was postponed a month, until June.

Voting in person on Election Day will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at one of four locations: the Clark County Courthouse, the Clark County Extension Office, Robert D. Campbell Junior High School and Strode Station Elementary School.

There will be the option of voting by paper ballot or electronically at all four locations.

Voters will be expected to wear masks when they show up at one of the polling places or at the courthouse to vote absentee.

Those who vote by mail-in ballots must have them postmarked by Nov. 3, but if they have that postmark, they can be received until Nov. 6. The voters may mail them back or return them in person to a drop box inside the courthouse before or on Election Day during regular voting hours.

The ballots and the envelopes to return them in must both be signed by the voter to be counted because otherwise there is no way to verify it is that voter’s ballot.

If a ballot is rejected because it has no signature or the signatures don’t match, the Kentucky Board of Elections will contact the county clerk.

“I’m going to take an extra step also,” Turner said, and call or send the voter a letter about the problem.

“That was our main reason for kicking them out of the primary,” she said.

Currently, for the general election, she said, she has four ballots where the signatures don’t match the voter’s driver’s license or voter registration card.

“Right now, we’ve mailed out 4,675 ballots,” Turner said Thursday. “We’re in the process of doing that as we speak now. So we’ve still got time for people who don’t want to wait in line.”

Voters may request a ballot at the same website where they register to vote, GoVoteKy.com, or by calling the Clark County Clerk’s Office at 859-745-0280, extension 3 during normal business hours.

Not only will citizens be voting for president Nov. 3, but there are also congressional, state and local races on the ballot.

On the ballot are races for the U.S. Senate, 6th District U.S. House seat, state representative for the 73rd House District, the Clark County Board of Education in Districts 2 and 5 and all the seats for Winchester city commissioners.

There are also write-in candidates whose names are not on the ballot but must be written in — for the state House race, Jada Brady, and the 5th District seat on the school board, Michael Cecil.

The two constitutional amendment questions on the back of the ballot have to do with a victim’s rights proposal called Marsy’s Law and an amendment that makes several changes to the law regarding the terms of state judges and commonwealth’s attorneys.

The wording is long and complex, and voters may want to look at the sample ballot for Clark County at govoteky.com to read and understand them before returning their ballots or going to the polls.

There may not be time to read them while standing in line.

Many people, Turner said, aren’t even aware that there are constitutional questions on the back side of the ballot.

“We do have sample ballots if anybody wants to come in and pick one up” to study the questions beforehand, Turner said.

Unlike during the primary election in June, the clerk said, the election results will be read at the courthouse after the polls close on the night of the election, although “they will be unofficial.”

It is expected to take more time to get the results because of the delay in receiving mail-in ballots.

Turner encouraged Clark Countians to exercise their right to vote and choose their leaders.

During the primaries, she said, “one person lost by one vote and one person won by two votes.”

“Every vote counts,” she said.

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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