Students: What you need to know about voting in the 2020 election Wednesday, Sep 30 2020 

By Katie Volpentesta —

The 2020 Presidential election is just six weeks away, so it’s important to be educated on voting options as well as candidates and policies down the ballot.

While the COVID-19 pandemic complicates in-person voting options, the Jefferson County Board of Elections is doing everything they can to keep Jefferson County residents informed of their options, including registering to vote, requesting and sending in a mail-in ballot, and voting in person both early or on Election Day.

“In a normal election we have about 232 locations within 623 precincts, and now with coronavirus, a lot of things have changed,” said Jordan Kelch, public relations administrator at the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office. Typically, early or mail-in voting is only allowed if a voter meets one of ten special criteria that prevent you from being able to vote on Election Day.

Instead of smaller polling locations throughout the county, the board has created four election super centers that will allow for social distanced voting in large, open areas. Early voting will take place at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the YUM! Center, the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, and a fourth location in the east end that is yet to be announced.

Early in-person voting is from Oct. 13 to Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and voting on Election Day, Nov. 3, will be at the same locations from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In order to vote either in person or via mail-in absentee ballot, residents of Jefferson County must be registered to vote. Luckily, this process is available and easily accessible online. The last day to register to vote in Kentucky is Oct. 5 at 4 p.m.

Additionally, the deadline to order a mail-in ballot in Kentucky is Oct. 9 by 11:59 p.m. These resources, as well as information on polling places, candidates and issues on your ballot, are available on the Jefferson County Clerk’s elections site.

“There’s 1,200 ballot styles for this election. Jefferson County is really large, so there’s lots of different areas with small city races,” Kelch said. “It all comes down to your legislative district and the neighborhood you live in.” The Jefferson County Clerk’s site can show you your exact ballot.

U of L’s Vote Everywhere initiative looks to keep students informed about voting options, deadlines and ways to stay informed as well. They want to ensure that students know the power of their vote and what it means to be informed.

“There’s so many deadlines and it gets really confusing, even for a student like me who is super civically engaged,” said Vote Everywhere Ambassador Wyn Garfinkle-Plymesser.

By hosting events on campus and frequently updating their Instagram page, @UofLVE, Garfinkle-Plymesser and her co-ambassador Arianna Moya engage with students and promote civic engagement within the U of L community.

“We just want to be a space where people can come and get the answers straight up and know what’s really going on,” said Garfinkle-Plymesser. “If they have any concerns about voting or their vote being suppressed, we wanna be the space that students can come to and have their concerns heard and questions answered.”

While Jefferson County is doing their best to make this election as accessible and safe as possible, Kelch recommends that residents vote early if possible and don’t procrastinate sending in a mail-in ballot.

“If you’re done and you’ve signed it completely, both the goldenrod envelope and exterior envelope, and you’ve followed all the directions and are ready to turn it in, please do so immediately,” Kelch said. “Election Day will obviously be very busy.”

For further information regarding the upcoming general election in Jefferson County, please go to elections.jeffersoncountyclerk.org.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Kentucky Secretary of State talks to students about upcoming election Monday, Sep 28 2020 

By Victoria Doll —

Vote Everywhere, a student organization at the University of Louisville, recently hosted Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams to discuss the upcoming 2020 election and address concerns about voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adams, a U of L alum, said that Kentucky is ranked number one in the country for ease of voting during the pandemic due to the work of him and Gov. Andy Beshear.

However, Adams has faced backlash from his Republican colleagues about ensuring integrity in the election. To address these concerns, he and his team have created a voting portal on the Kentucky Secretary of State website.

This portal matches voter’s signatures on their licenses to the signature on their absentee ballot. Once the voter has requested an absentee ballot, the voter is flagged in the system and cannot vote in person.

This way, voters have more ways to vote in elections along with confidence that the election is honest.

For this election, there are four different ways to vote in November. They include: in-person voting on election day, in-person voting before election day, absentee ballots by mail and absentee ballot by drop-off.

The cut off time for voting on election day, Nov. 3, is 6 p.m. Adams stressed the importance of voting before that cut off.

“That is a strict cut off that is in our constitution. There is nothing I can do to change that,” Adams said.

Voters who arrive in line before 6 p.m. will still be able to vote as long as they stay in line.

He also said that early in-person voting starts on Oct. 13. No prior excuse or appointment will be needed to utilize this voting method. Early voting stations in Jefferson County are still being decided.

Absentee voting is still open to be requested. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 9 at 11:59 pm.

Adams said that these four ways to vote are only in place for this election year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Kentuckians have voiced strong approval of these more convenient voting methods.

He mentioned that there is a push for the absentee voting portal to remain open and active after the 2020 election and he hopes to help pass legislation to make voting easier in the future.

Adams concluded the session with a piece of advice for U of L students.

“Please vote! People listen on election day,” he said. “This is an opportunity to get [your elected officials’] attention!”

Photo Courtesy // Kentucky Secretary of State Office

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