Primary election will be a different experience

County Clerk Glenda Himes discusses options for primary election early voting during a meeting of the Lewis County Board of Elections.

Changes to Kentucky’s primary election as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will result in an overall voting experience unlike any previous election.

• The date for the primary has been pushed back from May 19 to June 23 through an executive order by Gov. Andy Beshear.

• Lewis County will have one active voting precinct that will be open on June 23.

• Officials are urging voters to cast mail-in absentee ballots to limit in-person contact.

The Lewis County Board of Elections met this week to discuss the changes and develop plans to efficiently conduct the election locally.

County Clerk Glenda Himes said Lewis County has been authorized for two voting machines.

She said one of those machines will be located in the Lewis County Courthouse for early voting. The second machine will be set up at Lewis County Middle School to serve the county’s one precinct on election day.

She said the machines will utilize paper ballots and scanners to avoid people continuously touching the same screen as when voting electronically.

She adds the paper ballots will help alleviate concerns about hacking and security.

Himes said workers will be utilizing a new e-poll book rather than the traditional paper poll books that contain a list of eligible voters in the district or precinct.

She said the e-poll book (a laptop or tablet) will minimize direct contact of common surfaces with voting participants.

One benefit includes the ability of voters to scan their driver’s license to pull up their voting information.

“I urge all voters to bring their driver’s license if they will be voting on election day or in person at the courthouse,” she said. “Being able to scan the license with the e-poll book will result in very little physical contact and will help to save time.”

Himes said voters in Kentucky will soon receive a postcard in the mail informing them of their ability to do absentee mail-in voting and will direct them to an online portal where they can verify their identity and request a mail-in ballot.

She said voters may also request an absentee ballot directly through her office.

“All absentee ballots in Lewis County will come from my office whether they are requested online or otherwise,” she said.

County Attorney Benjamin Harrison added that all Lewis County absentee ballots will be counted locally by local people.

“All Lewis County absentee ballots will be returned to the Lewis County Clerk’s Office and will be verified and counted by the Lewis County Board of Elections,” Harrison said.

Local election officials authorized Himes to utilize election workers in her office to assist with the absentee and early voting duties as needed.

Himes said Lewis County typically has 14 voting precincts on election days and while many election workers have opted not to participate on June 23 due to health concerns, several have offered to assist as needed.

She said poll workers typically spend 14 or so hours performing election day duties. This election will have workers reporting in shifts to help limit the time spent in an in-person environment.

County Clerk Glenda Himes, right, swears in Kaitlin Brown as the Democratic representative of the Lewis County Board of Elections. Republican representative George Plummer looks on. Brown fills the board position left vacant by the retirement of Thomas “Grover” Evans.

In other board business, Himes swore in Kaitlin Brown as the Democratic representative on the local board of elections. Brown replaces Thomas “Grover” Evans who retired from the board in February for health reasons.

George Plummer serves as the Republican representative on the board along with Himes and Sheriff Johnny Bivens.

The deadline to register online to vote in the 2020 Primary Election is May 26 no later than 4:00 p.m. You can register online at www.sos.ky.gov.

Himes urges anyone with questions concerning the process or changes for the election to contact her office at 606-796-3062.

Further access is available to digital and full access subscribers only.
Log In Subscribe