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Kentucky Secretary Of State: Most Votes Will Be Counted By Election Night

Lisa Autry

Secretary of State Michael Adams says the vast majority of election results will be counted and reported on election night, even though some absentee ballots will still be in the mail.

County clerks will have until 11:59 p.m. on election night to report what they have of their vote totals and will have until November 10th to count the rest of their mail-in votes or reach out to voters who made mistakes on their ballots.

On WFPL’s In Conversation on Friday, Adams said he expects results of most races in Kentucky to come Tuesday night.

“We’re going to have all the in-person votes plus almost all the absentees all counted on Election Night reported. So it will be in excess of 90% of the vote. It’ll be enough to project some outcomes in races, most of them,” Adams said.

Adams said about 85% of mail-in ballots that were sent out have already been returned. Those ballots have to be postmarked by November 3rd to count.

Early in-person voting is still available across the state ahead of Election Day, and though the portal to request absentee ballots is closed, Adams said if voters have a medical emergency like exposure to coronavirus, they can contact their county clerk to request a last-minute mail-in ballot.

“If you do have a medical emergency between now and Tuesday—if you’re hospitalized, if you’re diagnosed with COVID, what have you, you can still qualify for a medical emergency absentee ballot,” Adams said.

Also, voters who requested a mail-in ballot but never received one can still vote in person on Election Day. Such voters just need to fill out paperwork at the polling place to cancel their mail-in ballot.

Adams said he expects voter turnout to be around 70%, lower than Kentucky’s record set in 1992 of 72%.

Adams said he hopes to keep some of the early voting and absentee ballot changes going into future elections, but that such changes will likely be up to the legislature.

“I won’t say that I’m terribly optimistic, but I think there’s some stuff we can pass,” Adams said.

Polling places will be different on Election Day this year. You can find out where to vote in your county at

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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