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Absentee voting now open for voters wanting to beat the lines at polls

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By The Staff

Voters across Kentucky have begun casting ballots for this year’s election.  While not all Kentuckians can head to the polls before Election Day, Kentucky law does provide opportunities for some voters to cast absentee ballots before the November 4 election.

“Kentucky law provides Kentucky voters with a number of opportunities to cast a ballot,” stated Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the Chief Election Officer of the Commonwealth.  “I hope that all citizens will plan for Election Day accordingly, and if they need to cast an absentee ballot, will take the appropriate steps to do so.”

Most county clerks’ offices across the Commonwealth have already begun in-house absentee voting, where voters actually vote on voting machines similar to those used on Election Day.  All county clerks’ offices must allow in-house absentee voting at least twelve working days before Election Day.  The actual start date for this voting may vary depending on whether the offices open on Saturdays.  Voters will have until November 3, 2008 to cast an in-house absentee ballot.

Voters might also be eligible to apply for a mail-in absentee ballot.  Those applications are available from voters’ respective county clerks’ offices and must be received during office hours in those offices by October 28.  After receiving an approved application, county clerks will mail a ballot to the respective voters, and voters will have until 6 p.m. local time on Election Day to return their ballots to the county clerk.

There are a variety of reasons why a voter might request to cast an absentee ballot, including:

• Advanced age, disability, or illness

• Military personnel, their dependents, and overseas citizens

• Students who temporarily reside outside the county

• Other voters who temporarily reside outside of Kentucky, such as a vacationer

• Voters’ employment takes them out of the county all hours the polling place is open

• Voters who have surgery scheduled that will require hospitalization on Election Day, and the voter’s spouse

Voters are restricted as to whether they can use in-house absentee voting or mail-in ballots according to their reason for casting an absentee ballot.

Grayson also reminded voters that with the start of in-house absentee voting, electioneering laws are now in effect for the building in which the absentee voting is located.  Electioneering is prohibited inside in-house absentee voting locations during the hours in which absentee voting is being conducted. Electioneering materials shall not be affixed to the interior or exterior of any in-house absentee voting location during that time as well.  For more specific rules about electioneering, citizens are urged to contact their local board of elections or the State Board of Elections.

To learn more visit: www.vote.ky.gov.