Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the chief elections officer of the Commonwealth, is encouraging all registered voters to cast their ballots on Election Day, November 2, 2010, and is encouraging citizens to prepare before doing so.
“Voting is an important right and responsibility. I highly encourage voters to research the candidates before they get ready to cast their vote,” noted Grayson. “It is also important that voters determine a time when they can vote and thus prepare appropriately. The polls close at 6:00 p.m., local time, and any voter in line to vote by that time will be allowed to cast a ballot.”
Grayson noted several heavy times during voting that occur: the morning rush hour, lunch, and the evening rush hour. Turnout is expected to be moderate, and voters should plan accordingly.
In addition, Grayson reminded voters that no Kentuckian should be prevented from voting in the upcoming election due to his or her work schedule, if he or she requests leave prior to the day in which he or she will cast his or her vote. The Kentucky Constitution provides “that all employers shall allow employees, under reasonable regulations, at least four hours on election days, in which to cast their votes.”
“It is my hope that every Kentuckian who is registered will exercise their right to vote on November 2nd,” stated Secretary Grayson. “This section in the Kentucky Constitution helps to ensure that every citizen will have the opportunity to cast a ballot on Election Day regardless of his or her work schedule, so long as the employee requests leave in advance.”
Employees need to request leave from their employer prior to the day in which they will cast their ballots to be eligible for this incentive. Kentucky law provides the employer discretion as to whether the employee will be compensated for that time and at what time the employee may vote. If an employee requests leave to vote and does not do so, state law deems that he or she may be subject to disciplinary action.
Kentuckians who will be working outside their county of residence on Election Day are eligible to vote by absentee ballot. Absentee voting on a voting machine is currently taking place in county clerks’ offices until close of business on Monday, November 1, 2010.
Grayson also encouraged voters to make note of Kentucky’s identification requirements at the polls. Voters must produce identification or be known by a precinct officer prior to voting. Types of ID include: personal acquaintance of precinct officer, driver’s license, social security card, credit card, or another form of ID containing both picture and signature.
When voters head to the polls on Election Day, they will also be governed by electioneering laws that prohibits electioneering within 300 feet of the polling location. Bumper stickers on cars of voters at a polling location are an exception to the electioneering prohibition. Cars may not be left near polling locations all day with the intent of advocating for a particular candidate. In addition, an Office of the Attorney General Opinion suggests that wearing personal items such as a campaign t-shirt, hat, or button is protected by the 1st amendment and therefore is an exception to the electioneering ban. Grayson stressed that voters will not be turned away from voting for wearing campaign materials to the polls, but noted that the best advice is to simply “wear those items outside of the precinct or cover them up when you go vote.”
Grayson also noted that it is illegal to record the identity of voters or to intimidate voters. As such, the use of recording devices, including cameras and cell phones, are prohibited from the polling place.
Voters will have the opportunity to elect candidates for a number of offices including:
• United States Senator
• United States Representative
• State Senator (Even Districts)
• State Representative
• Justice of the Supreme Court, District 3
• District Judge
• County Judge/Executive
• County Attorney
• County Clerk
• Property Valuation Administrator
• County Commissioner
• Magistrate/Justice of the Peace
• City Legislative Body
• Board of Education (School Board)
• Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors
In addition to the aforementioned, races for the un-expired terms of several district and circuit judges and commonwealth attorneys will also be on the ballot. It is also possible that local referenda and races for municipal, school board, or local offices with un-expired terms may be on the ballot.
Secretary Grayson recommends for voters to review the ballot before they get to the polls in order to make the voting process as efficient as possible.
The Office of the Secretary of State and State Board of Elections have a number of online services which can help citizens prepare for the election. Voters can view and print sample ballots, determine their polling location, and find pertinent election information by visiting either agency’s website. Grayson encouraged citizens to visit the Voter Information Center to determine whether they are eligible to vote in this year’s primary election.
“A little preparation can go a long way this election season. Hopefully, voters will heed this advice so that the election will go as smoothly as possible,” Grayson concluded.
Citizens with general questions about the election are encouraged to visit the Office of the Secretary of State and State Board of Elections’ Vote Kentucky! website at www.vote.ky.gov, the State Board of Elections website at www.elect.ky.gov, or contact their local county clerk.