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This Week In Conversation: Voting In The Time Of Coronavirus


There’s no playbook for how to conduct elections during a global pandemic. A few weeks ago, Wisconsin held their primary like normal. In Kentucky, we’ve already delayed ours until June, and we’re still trying to figure out whether in-person voting will be safe by then. 

Some states already have absentee voting available on request, while some (like Kentucky) require the voter to have a valid reason why they can't go to the polls on Election Day. And some lawmakers worry that allowing mail-in voting for all could lead to fraud.

On today's show, we talked about election plans in Kentucky and surrounding states, and the challenges facing those who are in charge of making the decisions.

Sydney Boles with the Ohio Valley ReSource joined us at the top of the hour; she's been looking into election plans in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. OVR is collecting your questions about voting and compiling the answers into a Pandemic Voter's Guide. (Submit yours here.)

Later in the hour, we checked in with Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, who said it's unlikely Kentucky will be able to hold a traditional election in June. Adams said it takes 16,000 poll workers to make an election happen, and most of them are over age 65, so particularly vulnerable to complications from coronavirus. He told us he and Governor Beshear are negotiating an agreement for what Kentucky's primary election will look like.

To wrap up the show, we talked to Kentucky Public Radio's statehouse reporter Ryland Barton about the General Assembly session that came to a close on Wednesday.

Listen to the show:

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Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.