Floyd County voters will see several changes in the primary election this year, including a first-time opportunity for all voters to cast absentee ballots.
Tuesday, May 26, is the last day for Floyd County residents to register to be eligible to vote in the Primary Election, which was postponed until June 23 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tuesday, June 2, is the last day for candidates seeking city offices and school board seats to file paperwork to be on the general election ballot in November.
Addressing concerns that in-person voting could cause the virus to spread, state officials approved measures that allow all voters to request absentee ballots and reduce the number of precincts that will be open on election day.
Floyd County Deputy Clerk Connie Gray reported on May 18 that the state is permitting Floyd County to have only one in-person voting precinct. The county usually has 42 precincts.
“Of course, they are wanting everybody to do this by mail,” Gray said. “They are allowing us one in-person polling precinct on election day.”
She said County Clerk Chris Waugh requested four precincts, one for each magisterial district, but the request was denied. She said county officials will hold a meeting this week to determine where Floyd County in-person voting precinct will be located.
Gray said the Floyd County Clerk’s office has received numerous calls from voters asking about the absentee ballot process, and she urges voters to “be patient” until the state sends a postcard to voters.
The Kentucky State Board of Elections is planning to mail an informational card to every Kentucky voter on May 22, which is also the deadline for the board launch an online portal where voters can request absentee ballots.
Gray encourages voters who do not receive a postcard by June 1 to contact the county clerk’s office.
She said June 16 will be the last day voters can request an absentee ballot through that online portal. The postmark deadline for absentee ballots is June 23, when in-person voting will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and all ballots must be received in the mail by June 27 to count toward the election.
Gray also reported that counties will also have a secure drop-off location for absentee ballots so that voters can drop them off instead of mailing them.
She expects a large turnout for the primary election.
“I think a lot of people would have not given it a second thought, with these types of races, but if they’re going to send out postcards and people don’t have to leave their home, I think it will be larger than what they expect,” she said.
Floyd County will need additional scanners to scan bar codes on absentee ballots, and it may also need additional staff to help count absentee ballots. Gray reported the state is funding the hiring of four staff members, if they are needed, and is giving counties the option of requesting National Guard members to help if they are needed as well.
“They will let us do scanning early, but we cannot release any totals, though, until June 23,” Gray said.
During the primary election in Floyd County, Democratic voters will choose candidates for president, U.S. Senate and Supreme Court Justice, 7th District; while Republican voters will choose candidates for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Kentucky Senate and Supreme Court Justice, 7th District.
In the 7th District Supreme Court seat, Sam Wright, Robert B. Conley and Chris Harris seeking election.
Online, the Kentucky Secretary of State website still lists 10 candidates in the Democratic Primary for president, and all but one of those candidates, Joseph R. Biden, have withdrawn from the race. Gray said that problem usually arises during presidential elections because the state’s primary election is held later than other states.
“That happens every four years, we go through this,” she said.
Donald J. Trump is the only Republican candidate in that race.
In the U.S. Representative race for the 5th Congressional District, Republicans will chose between incumbent Harold “Hal” Rogers and Gerardo Serrano of Tyner. The only Democrat seeking office is Matthew Ryan Best of London.
In the U.S. Senate race, Republicans will choose between incumbent Mitch McConnell and Paul John Frangedakis of Lexington, Nicholas Alsager of Campbellsville, Louis Grider of Elizabethtown, James Naren of Standford, Kennth Lowndes of Wilder and C. Wesley Morgan of Richmond. In that race, Democrats will choose between Jimmy C. Ausbrooks of Franklin, Charles Booker of Louisville, Mike Broihier of Stanford, Maggie Jo Hilliard of Louisville, Andrew Maynard of Georgetown, Amy McGrath of Lexington, Eric Rothmuller of Louisville, John R. Sharpensteen of Bonnieville, Bennie J. Smith of Louisville and Mary Ann Tobin of Irvington. Libertarian Brad Barron is also a candidate in that race.
In the 29th District State Senate race, Republican voters will choose between Johnnie L. Turner of Harlan and Matthew Wynn of Evarts in the primary. The only Democrat seeking the seat is incumbent Sen. Johnny Ray Turner of Prestonsburg.
In the 95th District State Representative race, the two candidates are incumbent Ashley Tackett Laferty of Martin, a Democrat, and Republican William Matt Reynolds of Pikeville, and neither of them face opposition in the primary election.
Voters can register to vote in the primary election can do so through the drive through at the Floyd County Clerk’s office, or online at, elect.ky.gov, through 4 p.m. on May 26. Candidates seeking seats in city government or on the school board may also use the drive through to pick up forms and drop them off by the deadline, 4 p.m. on June 1.