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No Universal Absentee Voting In November, Under Secretary Of State Plan

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AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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Kentucky's top election official is weighing in against expanded mail-in voting in November. But the plan only represents a first step toward negotiations with the governor.

The Lexington Herald-Leader confirmed Tuesday that Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams's preliminary voting plan does not call for universal vote-by-mail the system used in June's high-turnout primaries. Instead, Adams wants to see early in-person voting options and more in-person polling sites.

The secretary has argued many who are already eligible for absentee voting under normal voting conditions don't take advantage of the alternative.

"In a typical election, fewer than two percent of voters mail in an absentee ballot. Many more than two percent of voters, however, qualify for an absentee ballot," Adams told lawmakers in July. "Even if the classes of absentee eligible voters is not expanded for November, I think about 20 percent minimum of voters may vote absentee, as they currently qualify under the law."

That group would include voters who are disabled, ill, elderly, or out of the country.

During the June elections, roughly 75 percent of ballots were mailed in under the no-excuse system agreed upon by Adams and Gov. Andy Beshear. But the secretary maintains the November elections could overwhelm county clerks offices.

Beshear is advocating for another round of universal absentee voting.