Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams told members of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce that he has confidence the Nov. 3 general election will be handled fairly in Kentucky and nationwide.
In a web meeting Friday morning, Adams told chamber members he does have concerns about the way some states distribute absentee ballots, but said state and local election officials in all the states will work to produce a fair result.
Elections officials in the states “are all people of integrity,” Adams, a Republican, said Friday. “There are (officials) of integrity on both sides of the aisle.
“I don’t think we are going to have an election that is rigged by either side,” he said.
Adams spent much of Friday’s meeting detailing how people can vote in the coming election. Adams said he and Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, agreed on a bipartisan plan that will a Democrat, agreed on a bipartisan plan that will allow absentee voting for those who need it, while increasing in-person voting, both before and on Election Day.
“We had a successful election in June” during the primary, Adams said. Kentucky’s primary was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kentucky officials learned from other states that held primaries before Kentucky, he said.
“People were disenfranchised, and people got sick” in other states, Adams said.
“The best part of what worked back in June is we gave people options” on how to vote, he said. In the general election, absentee voting will be available for people who need to vote that way due to COVID-19 concerns.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 9, and absentee ballots can be requested at www.GoVoteKy.com.
Absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 will be accepted. Adams said people who intend to vote absentee should request ballots as soon as possible.
“There’s no reason to delay. Go ahead and request that ballot,” Adams said. Counties, including Daviess County, will also have secure boxes where absentee ballots can be dropped off instead of mailed.
Early voting will begin Oct. 13 and will run until Nov. 2. On Election Day, the plan is for counties to have more polling places than were open during the primary. Every county will have at least one voting center where people from any precinct can vote.
The state lost the majority of its poll workers, when older workers declined to return to polling places due to the pandemic.
“We’ve found 4,500 (new poll workers) by ourselves of the 15,000 it takes to run an election in Kentucky,” Adams said. Poll workers can also sign up at the same portal for requesting absentee ballots.
While Adams said he doesn’t anticipate fraud in November, there likely will be delays in some states in getting the votes counted.
In Kentucky, “we are going to have all votes in within 72 hours of the election,” he said, adding that 75 to 80% of the votes will be counted by election night.
Kentucky’s election changes were the result of the emergency order, so the changes will expire when the emergency order expires. Adams said he hopes some methods adopted under the order remain permanent, such as having a portal for people to request absentee ballots, and county elections offices having a way to contact voters and correct issues with absentee ballots, such as having signatures that don’t make the signature on file with the state.
“I don’t think we’re ever going back … to only 2% (of votes) being absentee,” Adams said. “… Way more than 2% qualify to vote absentee.”
By James Mayse Messenger-Inquirer