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A Pandemic Voter's Guide For Kentucky

A Kentucky polling place during the 2016 election.
Jeff Young
A Kentucky polling place during the 2016 election.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced elections officials to expand options for voters in November’s general election. This means you will have more ways to vote, including mail-in ballots and early in-person voting. But it also means many people have questions about how to vote. Here are answers to some common questions about voter registration, voting by mail, and early voting in person.


How do I know if I’m registered?

You can check your registration status online.

How do I register to vote?

You can register online. You can also submit a voter registration card by mail or in-person. You’ll need to provide your social security number, date of birth, political party affiliation, and your address. 

What’s the deadline for registration?

Kentucky’s registration deadline is October 5th at 4:00 p.m.

Online Tools To Check Registration

If you’d like to visit Kentucky’s official voting website, click here. 


What are my options for early voting in person?

Early in-person voting begins on October 13th and ends on November 2nd. Every registered voter in Kentucky is eligible to vote early. All voters must provide a form of photo ID to vote in person. 

Where do I vote early — is it the same as my usual polling place? 

Early voting locations might be different from the polling places you’re accustomed to using. Each county will have at least one early in-person voting location. You can find your polling location here. Days and times early polling sites are open will vary, so be sure to plan ahead. 

 Online Tools For Early Voting 

For more information about where to find your polling location for the 2020 General Election, click here. 

If you’d like to visit Kentucky’s voter information portal, click here. 


Am I eligible to vote by mail?

All Kentucky voters who are concerned about contracting COVID-19 can vote by mail for the general election. Specific eligibility can be found online

How do I request a ballot to mail in? What is the deadline?

You can request your ballot online. The deadline to request your absentee ballot is October 9th 2020 by 11:59 p.m.

What are my options for returning the ballot — do I have to mail it? 

You can mail your ballot to your county clerk’s office. Drop boxes will be available for those who are concerned about postal delays. Be sure to sign and seal both the inner and outer envelopes so your ballot will be counted. You can find step-by-step instructions on how to send in your absentee ballot here.

What is the deadline for returning my ballot?

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 3rd 2020, Election Day. They must be received by November 6th 2020. 

Online Tools For Absentee Ballots

To request your absentee ballot, click here. 

Find your county drop box and your county clerk’s office here. 


Where do I go to vote? Has my polling location changed?

Election Day voting location can be found online. The number of polling locations vary between counties. Each county will have a voting supercenter where any registered voter can go regardless of their precinct. 

Will I need identification?

All voters must provide a form of photo ID to vote in person. That ID can be a Kentucky driver’s license, government ID, military ID, or college ID. Those who do not have photo identification will need to sign a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form and provide a non-photo ID like a Social Security card, a credit or debit card, or a food stamp card. 

How long will polling sites be open?

The polls will be open from 6:00 am to 6 pm. If you are in line by 6 pm, you will be allowed to cast your ballot. 


We asked our listeners if they had any specific voting questions that they would like the ReSource to answer. University of Kentucky Law Professor Joshua Douglas, an elections expert, and Miranda Combs, the communications director for Kentucky’s Secretary of State, address some questions. 

Once I’ve ordered a mail in ballot, can I vote in person? Or, does that lock in my vote being mailed in? — Matthew Haas

Joshua Douglas: “Technically you can, but it's not a great idea. You'll have to fill out paperwork to cancel your absentee ballot request. But, if you requested a ballot but don't receive it by Oct. 28, then you can visit an early in-person site or show up on Nov. 3 to vote.” 

Miranda Combs: “Once you apply for an absentee ballot, you are locked in to voting that way….or putting your ballot in a secured drop box.” 

I requested my KY absentee ballot on 9/2/20. When will I get it? Today is 9/22/20. I'm nervous it'll come too late. — anonymous 

Douglas: “Don't worry. I haven't received my ballot yet, either! They didn't even start printing them until about a week ago, and there are a lot to process. Only be concerned if you haven't received it by the last week of October.” 

Signatures change over time. How do we know what the comparison signature will be for a mailed in ballot? — Matthew Haas

Combs: “The comparison signature is the one on your driver’s license.” 


Click here to visit the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website. For a fun take on election questions, comedian Stephen Colbert has this “Better Know a Ballot” segment on voting in Kentucky. And keep sending us your questions! If you are unsure of something or have concerns, then others probably do, too. Use the form below and we'll try our best to get an answer.


This story is part of “ America Amplified, Election 2020,” a public media initiative using community engagement to inform and strengthen local, regional and national journalism. America Amplified is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


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