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Kentucky's absentee ballot request deadline fast approaching

Josh James

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot ahead of the midterm elections in Kentucky is Wednesday.

Kentucky voters who intend to vote absentee have until midnight Wednesday to apply at govoteky.org or through their county clerk’s office.

To be eligible to vote absentee by mail, one must meet any number of requirements – from temporarily residing outside the state to being a member of the military to being advanced in age, disabled, or ill on Election Day.

As for the last set of eligibility rules, Secretary of State Michael Adams says there isn’t a specific test voters must take to prove they fall into those categories.

"The statute says it's based on the voter's subjective intent as to age or illness or disability. There's no specific age requirement statute, so if you are 64 or 60 or 55 for that matter and you believe that your age or health limits your ability to access the polls in person, you've got the right to vote by absentee ballot."
Secretary of State Michael Adams

The difference during the start of the pandemic was that state officials temporarily expanded that definition to allow those who were “concerned with contracting or spreading COVID-19” to vote absentee – an excuse no longer included.

All mail-in absentee ballots must be received by November 8 at 6 PM.

Below are the eligibility rules for absentee voting in Kentucky:

Reasons Eligible to Request a Mail-In Absentee Ballot on the Online Portal

  1. A resident of Kentucky who is a covered voter as defined in KRS 117A.010; 
  2. A student who temporarily resides outside the county of his or her residence; 
  3. Incarcerated in jail and charged with a crime, but has not been convicted of the crime; 
  4. Changing or has changed his or her place of residence to a different state while the registration books are closed in the new state of residence before an election of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, in which case the voter shall be permitted to cast a mail-in absentee ballot for electors for President and Vice President of the United States only; 
  5. Temporarily residing outside the state but still eligible to vote in this state; 
  6. Prevented from voting in person at the polls on election day and from casting an excused or no-excuse in-person absentee ballot on all days in-person absentee voting is conducted because he or she will be absent from the county of his or her residence all hours and all days excused or no-excuse in person absentee voting is conducted;
  7. A participant in the Secretary of State's crime victim address confidentiality protection program as authorized by KRS 14.312; or
  8. Not able to appear at the polls on election day or the days excused or no-excuse in-person absentee voting is conducted on the account of age, disability, or illness, and who has not been declared mentally disabled by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.