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Kentucky voter registration deadline is Oct. 11, early voting period approaches

WKU Public Radio

Kentuckians who want to cast a ballot in the upcoming General Election need to register by Oct. 11, four weeks before the last day of voting on Nov. 8.

The easiest place to register is on the secretary of state’s website, Voters can also find their polling locations and sign up to become a poll worker on the site.

For Kentuckians who want to cast their ballots early, lawmakers recently expanded options. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signed a bipartisan bill last year allowing three days of no-excuse early voting in Kentucky.

That means, across the state, voters can cast ballots in person on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday immediately preceding Election Day.

Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams said the convenience of early voting could ease the process for voters and poll workers, while also boosting turnout. He said it was a popular option in the 2020 cycle.

“Last cycle, we saw a plurality of voters used early voting instead of voting on Election Day or voting on absentee ballot. I think it’ll take time for it to catch on but I do hope that it catches on in time and we’ll have a lot of voters take advantage of it,” he said.

Early voting hours vary across the state. The State Board of Elections website lists each location’s hours, which will be updated closer to Election Day.

In the primary election earlier this year, over 88,000 voters submitted their ballots during the early voting period.

Adams said the first two state constitutions provided for multi-day voting periods, but it was rolled back in the most recent one, adopted in 1891.

“Last year, we went back to the future and went back to the three-day voting period. And people loved it,” he said.

Voters can cast absentee ballots by mail if they have an excuse, like they’re a student temporarily residing outside of the county, are in jail awaiting trial or can’t make it to the polls because of age, disability or illness.

Adams stressed the importance of voting in a highly charged political climate.

“People are being increasingly governed by people who don’t reflect their views. If you don’t have your say, other people will speak for you,” he said.

This year, Kentuckians will weigh in on races for U.S. Senate, Congress, the legislature, state Supreme Court, and a varietyof local elections. Voters will also consider two potential amendments to the state constitution: one would allow the legislature to call itself into session, the other would undermine abortion rights.

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