Early voting for Kentucky general election begins Thursday
Early in-person voting will take place Nov. 2–4, and local leaders are encouraging Kentuckians to head to the polls before Election Day. It’s the first time Kentucky voters can cast early ballots in a gubernatorial race since a recent expansion of voting options.
Any Kentucky voter is eligible to cast a ballot in person this Thursday, Friday and Saturday as well as next Tuesday on Election Day.
Kentucky enacted the early voting law in 2021, following an emergency expansion of voting options during the first year of the pandemic.
Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams, who pushed for the expansion, said what started as a safety measure became a positive change, and voters got used to it.
“What's good for me and for the county clerks and I think the voters, too, is having a smooth election. And it's just easier to run an election when the votes are being distributed evenly versus a few here and crickets at the polls, and then one day of crowds,” Adams said.
Voters across the state can find their local early voting locations on the State Board of Elections website.
Andrea Hailey, CEO of national voting rights organization Vote.org, said early voting can help people “exercise their voice in their community.”
“What we hope is that everyone takes the time to make a plan to vote to make sure that they get through the process of voting,” Hailey said, “Voting early is a great way to make sure that you don't have any last minute hiccups that keep you from being able to cast your ballot.”
Local organizations are calling on underrepresented communities to exercise their right to vote in this election.
The Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement, another nonprofit voting rights organization, is working with state legislators and local activists to encourage people who lost their voting rights due to a felony conviction to register to vote, if they’re eligible.
Kentucky law bans people with felonies on their record from civil rights like voting, owning a gun and holding public office. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive order in 2019 restoring voting rights to more than 140,000 people convicted of non-violent felonies who have served their sentences.
Voters are casting ballots in this year’s race for governor, attorney general, secretary of state and other statewide offices. You can learn more about the candidates in the Kentucky Public Radio voter guide.
Sylvia Goodman contributed to this story.