COVID – 19 – County clerk releases election procedures, urges mail-in balloting if possible

Posted May 6, 2020 at 12:07 pm

County clerk releases election procedures, urges mail-in balloting if possible

Due to the COVID-19 social distancing mandates, state officials, including the Governor of Kentucky, Secretary of State and state Board of Elections have put into place altered election procedures for the upcoming primary election.

The primary was moved up several weeks ago from late May to June 23 and officials are now advocating as many voters as possible to vote by mail-in ballot.

On Monday, Clinton County Clerk Nathan Collins issued the following election information to help guide citizens who will be voting in this year’s primary election.

Collins said in a one-page statement: There will be a few changes to how the upcoming June 23rd primary election will be conducted due to COVID-19. The option to vote an absentee ballot will be expanded to include every voter. Here are the ways you can vote by absentee:

* Absentee by mail: You can contact my office by phone (or email) to request an absentee application. We will then mail you the application to sign. Once you mail us the application back, we will mail you the ballot.

* Absentee by drive-up: For this election, you can pull into the courthouse parking lot and call us to request an absentee. We will bring you the application to sign, then bring you the ballot and envelope. Once you have filled it out and placed (it) into the secured envelope, we can pick it up from your vehicle.

* Absentee by pick-up: For this election, you can also call us to have your application ready and you can pick it up and sign it at our window. We will then give you the ballot and envelope. Once you fill it out and put it in the secured envelope, you can drop it back off with us at the window.

* Absentee online: For this election, you can apply for an absentee ballot using the State Board of Elections online portal. This portal is available starting May 22nd. Once you put all of your info into the portal and submit it, my office will then mail you your ballot within three (3) days. If you choose this option, you will not have to sign an application. This will be the quickest option.

*Absentee in-person: Starting June 8th, you can vote absentee in the office by appointment only. When you call us to make your appointment, we will tell you a time to be here to vote and we will have your application ready for you to sign at that time as well. Voting equipment will be sanitized between each voter.

* Voting on Election Day: Precincts “will not” be open and results “will not” be separated by precinct. The only place to vote on Election Day will be the Courthouse. This polling location will still be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23rd, but voting by absentee will be the best option.

In order to avoid having a large crowd on Election Day, we encourage everyone to take advantage of the expanded absentee options. This will help prevent long wait times and a large crowd at the one polling location.

If you have questions, please give us a call at (606) 387-5943. Thank you! Nathan Collins, County Clerk.

Collins also reminds potential non-partisan candidates running in the 2020 election that the deadline to file for a seat remains scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, at 4 p.m.

Non-partisan races on the 2020 ballot this year include three school board seats in districts two, three and four; three seats on the Soil Conservation District Board of Directors and all six Albany City Council positions.

The county clerk noted that if only three members file for the Soil Conservation seats, there would be no need for a run-off election in that particular race during the November general election.

As of Monday of this week, May 4, Collins said a few people had picked up petition papers but only one person has actually filed to seek office, that being for one of the three school board seats.

Changes in the election and many other aspects of regular routine, began with the coronavirus pandemic and when Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a State of Emergency in Kentucky effective March 6.

On April 24, the governor issued another Executive Order pertaining to the upcoming election and urging mail-in voting.

That order directed in part:

1. All Kentuckians should utilize absentee voting by mail;

2. The State Board of Elections shall promulgate emergency regulations to provide for such expanded absentee voting by mail. The State Board of Elections, shall, among other changes, create a secure online portal that will allow voters to request that the absentee ballot be mailed to them…and send a postcard to each registered voter informing voters of their ability, and the process, to vote absentee.

3. The State Board of Elections shall take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of county clerks and poll workers when direct voting (not by mail) is necessary, including, but not limited to:

* permitting in-person absentee voting.

* directing clerks to prioritize such voters by appointment.

* providing adequate protective euipment (PPE) and materials to assist in proper sanitization to clerks and poll workers; and,

d. instructing county clerks to implement procedures that limit direct contact between individuals, whether poll workers or voters. Such procedures shall promote a method of voting, such as drive through voting, whereby poll workers do not come into contact with voters.