Edmonson County Voters Will See Drastic Changes This Cycle
Edmonson Voice Report:
The structure of the 2020 Primary Election on June 23rd for Edmonson County and for the Commonwealth of Kentucky will be unlike any other before. After the Covid-19 outbreak in early March, a decision was made by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams to reschedule the election from May 19th to June 23rd. After much discussion among the Governor’s office, the Secretary of State’s office, the State Board of Elections, and county clerks statewide, the makeup for this particular election was established.
As a result, like clerks throughout the state, Edmonson County Clerk Kevin M. Alexander is encouraging local voters that plan to vote to do so from the comforts of their own home.
“We want people to vote, yet we want them to vote in the safest possible manner” Clerk Alexander said.
Edmonson County will only have one location available on Election Day, which will be the Edmonson County Community Center in Brownsville. The plan, according to Clerk Alexander, is to have two machines set up that day with poll workers present to facilitate the voting process.
“We will be open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., and social distancing will be implemented. People that choose to vote in person will need to wear masks and stand six feet apart in line. Since we will have to sanitize the voting area after each voter, we are really trying to encourage voters to vote by mail.”
Voting by mail, traditionally, has been done by calling in and requesting a ballot. That has always been a two-part process, in which you first receive an application, return the application by mail, and then receive a ballot from the Clerk’s office to mail back. For this election, that option remains in place, but the State Board of Elections is providing a new option this Primary.
Beginning this week, the State Board of Elections is mailing out postcards to all voters statewide, which include instructions on how to receive mail-in ballots. Voters will have the option of going online to www.GoVoteKY.com website and complete an online application to receive a ballot. After verifying voter registration, a ballot will be mailed. Voters then complete those ballots and mail them to the County Clerk’s office in a postage-paid envelope.
Voters who do not want to mail in their ballot will have the option of dropping off in a ballot box that will be located near the Clerk’s office at the Edmonson County Courthouse.
“With several of polling locations being in schools and fewer available poll workers, our local Board of Elections, which includes Sheriff Shane Doyle, Democratic Representative Markeeta Wood, and Republican Representative Bob Kleier, realized this change is necessary. Fortunately, this ballot has just a few federal offices being contested, but no local races” said Clerk Alexander.
Mail-in voting will have an impact on how results are tabulated on Election Day, with several machines set up at the Courthouse to scan ballots. Clerk Alexander said any ballots postmarked by June 23 but arriving later will still be counted.
“We will have a vote total on June 23, but it will not be a certified total” he said. “The county will have until June 30 to have the results certified.”
Alexander said that his office will try to accommodate any resident who is unable to vote through the mail. The County Clerk’s Office will be available for voting by appointment on the dates of June 8-June 22, during the office’s regular business hours on Monday through Friday. Those wanting to vote this way should call the Clerk’s Office at 270/597-2624 or email Clerk Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org or Deputy Clerk Jason Alexander at email@example.com. Saturday office hours have been suspended since the Courthouse closure in mid-March.
In addition, County Clerk Alexander said that individuals wanting to be on the General Election ballot for the local elections for Brownsville City Mayor, Brownsville City Council, School Board Districts One, Three, and Five, and four positions on the Soil Conservation Board have until June 2 to turn in their paperwork.
“I know that it is odd that those wishing to file for these positions will have turn in the necessary paperwork prior to the Primary Election, but we have been advised that this deadline was set prior to the Primary being pushed back, and remains the same” said Alexander.
Currently, the only filings have been current Brownsville Mayor Jerry L. Meredith and Brownsville City Council member Greg Nugent refiling, and incumbent school board members Alexander Ulm of District One and Paul Forester of District Five.
Clerk Alexander went on to say “If someone is seeking to file for one of these positions, they can call our office or reach us by e-mail and we will find a way to get them their filing paperwork. Likewise, when their paperwork is complete, we make arrangements to receive them before that June 2 deadline.” Ballot positions will be scheduled to be drawn at a later date.
While the County Clerk’s Office handles a number of items, elections are among the forefront of all responsibilities. As a result, Clerk Alexander said that the election is one of the primary reasons he is not planning to re-open his office until the coronavirus pandemic has further subsided, which could be after this Primary Election.
“We must be able to safely have an election. In a four-person office like ours, especially given the nature of this virus, safety is of the utmost concern” he said. “We really want to be able to re-open as soon as possible, but we have to get through this election, without question.”
In closing, Clerk Alexander is hoping for safety for everyone.
“If you plan to come to the Community Center to vote in the usual manner, just know that it will likely take a bit longer and lines could become long. I know some people want to vote the way they always do, and we respect that and are making sure that option is available.”
*NOTE: Party affiliation changes made after December 31, 2019 prohibit voters from voting in this Primary Election.