How Absentee Voting works in Kentucky (May 2019 Primary) | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

How Absentee Voting works in Kentucky (May 2019 Primary)

29626112627_8f4825f8ec_oOn election day, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, polls in Kentucky will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Unconditional Early Voting isn't allowed in Kentucky (as it is in many states), but in most cases, if you won't be in the Kentucky county where you're registered to vote on election day, you can vote absentee.

To vote absentee, there are several hoops to jump through, so it's good to start early:

1. You have to be registered to vote and you have to know what county you're registered in.  You can check that at

2. You have to make the request by phone, email, or fax to the County Clerk where you're registered now for an absentee ballot and you have to give a legally recognized reason such as that you are:
- Advanced in age, disabled, or ill
- Military personnel, their Dependents, or Overseas Citizens
- A student who temporarily resides outside the county
- A voter who temporarily resides outside of Kentucky and who maintains eligibility to vote in Kentucky
- Incarcerated, but not yet convicted of a crime
(or a few other conditions)

3. The clerk will then check your name against the voter file and will mail you a formal application for an absentee ballot just for you. 

4. You'll fill out that application and return by mail, and the Clerk's office will have to receive it by Tuesday May 14, 2019 for it to be valid.

5. The clerk will then send you an absentee ballot, which you'll have to receive, fill out and mail back and the clerk will have to receive by 6 p.m. on Election Day.

That's a lot of mailing and back and forth, so starting today by contacting your local County Clerk is a good idea.

"In-person absentee voting" is and option in Kentucky too, where you can vote in-person at the Clerk's office during regular business hours if you meet the criteria in a time window that varies from county to county but never starts earlier than voter registration day and legally can't start later than a week before the election.  This "in-person absentee voting" runs through Monday, May 20, the day before the election and some weekend dates are included in some counties. 

Note also that people in jails who are awaiting sentencing can and should legally vote absentee (though few people know that).