Universal Mail-In Voting Won Praise In June. That Doesn't Mean It'll Be Back.

Jul 28, 2020

If current coronavirus trends persist, the pressure will be on for another round of universal absentee voting this fall, but Kentucky's secretary of state has a scaled back vision for November.

Credit Josh James / WUKY

While the switch to mostly absentee voting was largely hailed as a success during this year's primaries, Secretary of State Michael Adams told lawmakers Tuesday that there are worries among county clerks and the post office that the general election could be a different story.

"They and I are concerned that going from 750,000 absentee ballots to 1.875 million absentee ballots or more could overload and crash our system," the official testified.

Adams advocated rolling back eligibility for expanded absentee voting and shifting emphasis to early in-person voting.

"This is a far less expensive and labor intensive way to conduct an election, and as we've shown, we can do it in a way that keeps voters and election workers safe," he argued.

But the Republican acknowledged expanded early voting does present its own problems among them finding enough polling locations and poll workers, especially younger workers less at risk from the virus.

The recommendations are all but certain to receive pushback from Gov. Andy Beshear, who championed the state's experiment in universal vote-by-mail. He and the secretary of state are required by state law to collaborate on emergency changes to elections.

Mail-in voting has been on the reciving end of hostile tweets from President Donald Trump, who has floated several arguments against them ranging from unsubstaintiated claims of mail-voting fraud by foreign countries to warnings of ballots being stolen from mailboxes.