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Ky. voters' deadline to request absentee ballots on Tuesday

110320 Election Day_19
Voting occurs at Fairdale High School.

Kentucky voters seeking to cast an absentee ballot in November’s election will need to request one by the end of the day Tuesday.

Kentuckians who can’t make it to the polls on Nov. 8 can still cast absentee ballots if they meet state-defined criteria. This includes people whose age, disability or illness prevent in-person voting; people living out of state or their registered county temporarily; voters who will be outside of their registered county for Election Day; and military or overseas voters. People in jail on criminal charges who haven’t been convicted or crime victims in a confidentiality program are also eligible.

The deadline to apply online for an absentee ballot is Oct. 25, no later than 11:59 p.m. EST. Voter ID will be verified through the online portal. Eligible voters can also request an absentee ballot or check the status of a completed ballot via GoVoteKY.com.

Completed absentee ballots must be received by county clerks’ offices by 6 p.m. local time on Election Day to be counted.

Anyone with disabilities unable to use the portal, people who do not have internet and people otherwise unable to use the portal may call their county clerk to have their information verified and entered into the portal for them.

Any voters that request a mailed absentee ballot will be unable to vote in person unless they have not received their requested absentee ballot.

Registered voters that will be overseas — including civilians and U.S. military personnel — can find information on how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Medical emergency absentee ballots can be requested if a medical emergency occurs within two weeks of the election. These requests can also be made by the spouse of the voter through their local county clerk’s office.

A recent Center for Public Integrity story credited expanded voting access — which included excuse-free absentee voting eligibility for all registered Kentucky voters and a longer early voting period — for a record turnout in the 2020 general election, which saw around 2.1 million ballots cast.

Some of this action taken to expand voting access during the COVID-19 pandemic was put into place permanently in 2021, as Kentucky lawmakers passed legislation establishing three days of early voting, creating voter services portals where people could request and track absentee ballots and putting voting centers in place where people could vote without being tied to polling locations in a specific precinct, among other reforms.

Sample ballots and polling locations for the November 2022 election in all 120 Kentucky counties can be found on the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website.

Voters looking to learn more about the state’s legislative candidates and the two Kentucky constitutional amendments on the ballot can do so by checking out Kentucky Public Radio’s voter guide.