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Three-day early voting period set to begin in Kentucky

While the Fayette County clerk expects small crowds for the primary, he does have several concerns looking ahead to November.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:02 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington is preparing for three days of early voting, starting Thursday.

While the Fayette County clerk expects small crowds for the primary, he does have several concerns looking ahead to November.

This is the first time we’ll see early voting in Kentucky.

“The legislature allowed early voting in a bill that passed last year, 2021,” Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins said.

While you have the next three days to vote early, Blevins said they don’t expect a crowd.

“In other states that have tried early voting, it really hasn’t done anything for voter turnout. In fact, turn out has gone down slightly after early voting was instituted. It’s really more of a convenience for people who were already going to vote early anyway,” Blevins said.

Blevins says voter turnout during a primary election cycle is usually only about 27% anyways. They’re prepared in case they do see a crowd this week, but it’s the upcoming November election that’s raising the most concerns.

“They passed a law this year that says during early voting we can’t use absentee ballots. We have to use precinct specific ballots. That sounds innocuous, but what that means is had they passed that prior to the ballot deadline for this spring, instead of preprinting 28 different ballot combinations, I would have had to preprint 858 different combinations and then have those laid out on tables at Kroger Field,” Blevins said.

Blevins’ team will have to have this done for November, while also working with an elections officer shortage.

“People are uncomfortable with the pandemic still lingering around. People are also uncomfortable with the acrimony surrounding politics right now. They’re fearful of serving. And lastly, another unusual side effect of the pandemic is a lot of people are getting elective surgeries this year that weren’t able to do it the last two years,” Blevins said.

You can vote early Thursday through Saturday at Gate 11 at Kroger Field. It’ll be open from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

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