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Voters must apply for mail-in ballots by Friday

Clark County voters who want to avoid possibly long lines at the polls on Election Day have until Friday to apply online for an absentee ballot to be mailed to their address.

Those ballots must be marked, returned in two signed envelopes and postmarked by Nov. 3, or they won’t be counted.

Voters may also return them to a drop box at the courthouse on or before Election Day.

Eligible voters may apply for an absentee (mail-in) ballot at GoVoteKy.com by 11:59 p.m. Oct. 9.

Like most states, Kentucky does not automatically mail ballots to every eligible voter. A registered voter must apply for an absentee ballot just as during any election year. The difference this year is that any registered voter who wants to claim a medical exemption to in-person voting may do so because of the possibility of contracting the coronavirus at the polls.

Voters may also vote early at the courthouse on the voting machines Oct. 13 through Nov. 2.

Anyone who wants to vote in person at the polls on Nov. 3 may do so at one of four locations: Strode Station Elementary School, Robert D. Campbell Junior High School, the Clark County Extension Office in the Winchester Industrial Park and the Clark County Courthouse downtown.

The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day.

The disease caused by the virus is also the reason there are only four polling locations this election, so it’s likely to take people longer to vote in person than it would if they were voting at their usual precincts.

“I do think there are going to be long lines on Election Day,” Clark County Clerk Michelle Turner said in a recent online interview. “So I’m trying to get everyone to do the mail-in ballot or do the early voting here at the courthouse.”

Turner said the Clark County Clerk’s Office had mailed more than 4,858 absentee ballots as of 4 p.m. Monday.

She said voters should make sure their ballots are placed inside the brown envelope, and then inside the white envelope with the clerk’s address, that both are sealed, and that both are signed.

During the primary elections in June, 393 ballots were rejected, including 183 because they were missing a signature, and 40 because signatures didn’t match those on their driver’s licenses or voter registration cards.

Turner said last week she already had received four ballots with signatures that didn’t match.

Among the other reasons for rejecting them included missing envelopes and envelopes not being sealed.

Turner also said voters should check both sides of their ballot when filling it out because there are state constitutional amendment questions on the reverse side.

Clark County voters will not only vote for president and vice president, but also for U.S. senator and congress, state representative, school board, Winchester city commissioners (if they live in the city limits) and for the state constitutional amendment questions, which are about terms for judges and commonwealth’s attorneys and Marsy’s Law, a victims’ rights proposal.

Monday was the last day to register to vote or change one’s registration prior to the election.

Anyone with questions about voting may call the County Clerk’s Office at 745-0280, ext. 3, or visit the secretary of state’s online portal at GoVoteKy.com.

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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