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Campaigns Can Electioneer at Kentucky Caucus Sites

In 17 years of voting at this polling place, nevr took longer than 5 minutes...today it took 1 hr and 5 minutes!
Creative Commons
In 17 years of voting at this polling place, nevr took longer than 5 minutes...today it took 1 hr and 5 minutes!

Voters taking part in Kentucky's Republican presidential caucus in March might notice one big difference when they cast their ballots: campaign swag in the same room where they’re voting.

In typical Kentucky elections, as much as holding a campaign sign within 100 feet of a polling station is illegal. State law also prohibits people from distributing campaign literature or soliciting signatures and votes within that same distance of a voting location.

But the March 5 presidential caucus is no regular election run. Unlike typical Kentucky elections, local county clerks and state officials aren't involved. The caucus will be made up of multiple private events held by the Republican Party of Kentucky, and the party gets to do things its way.

Republicans will choose candidates for the party's presidential nomination at events organized by local county Republican parties. Material from the campaigns and the party will be among the first things voters see when they go to their caucus sites on March 5, RPK Executive Director Mike Biagi said.

“When they walk into a location, in addition to seeing information from a presidential campaign, there will be an opportunity for the local county party to engage voters and see if they are interested in getting involved in the party,” he said.

Once a person shops around and asks questions, he or she will be able to cast a secret ballot at a regular voting booth in a separate area.

Although the caucus will be like private events across the state, Biagi said county leaders are trying to make sure it doesn’t feel that way.

“When the Republican Party designed the rules for the caucus, we did want it to be very open,” Biagi said. “I don’t think it will be too private because we wanted it to feel like people could be welcome to come participate in the same way they do for a regular election.”

Registered Republican voters will be able to go the county caucus locations anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on March 5 to cast their ballots.