Voting in 2020 is anything but simple.
With numerous vital elections taking place, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has complicated so many areas of our daily lives, has also interrupted our ability to hold elections as we have in the past.
Of course, just like many other areas in which COVID-19 has brought complications, the answers aren’t easy. Voting has never been more important, but actually casting a ballot in a safe and secure manner has never been more difficult for a majority of the population.
Recently, Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams announced a plan for the upcoming Nov. 3 general election that seeks to ensure that people are able to vote safely and securely.
That the plan is bipartisan — Adams is a Republican, Beshear a Democrat — is vitally important. There are many who question the validity of our elections, a dangerous game to be sure. Voting and electing the officials who represent us is one of the fundamental structures of our democracy. If that falls down, our entire system of government is called into question.
Considering that, we must also call for officials to be open and transparent about the processes, and not only the successes, but the failures. Also, if anyone does attempt to manipulate this system, they must be discovered quickly and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
While the presidential election takes up much of the attention, there are numerous other races on the local ballots, including federal and state legislative bodies, local governments and even a state Supreme Court seat.
Some aspects of the plan drawn up by Adams and Beshear include:
Absentee ballot by mail
• Kentuckians concerned with contracting or spreading COVID-19 can request a ballot by mail.
• Ballots can be requested through an online portal through Oct. 9.
• Medical emergency absentee ballots requested can continue to be submitted from Oct. 10 through Nov. 3 via traditional means.
• Mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, and received by Nov. 6.
• Drop boxes will be available for Kentuckians to return their mail ballots if they are concerned about postal delays. County clerks will determine these locations.
• Beginning Oct. 13, three weeks before the election, every work day between Oct. 13 and Election Day, and every Saturday for at least four hours, every county clerk will provide a location for safe in-person voting.
• Early voting is not absentee voting — anyone can vote early for any reason.
Election Day voting
• County election officials will decide election sites on Election Day. The State Board of Elections, Secretary of State and Governor will approve each plan.
• Every county will have at least one voting super-center, where everyone from the county can go to vote, regardless of his or her precinct.
• Kentuckians who were unable to get a driver’s licenses or photo ID due to the pandemic because their clerk’s office was closed, or because they were afraid of exposing themselves to COVID-19, can sign a document explaining this concern and cast their ballot.
Knowing all these things, we call on the people in this community to exercise this fundamental right — vote. Do so safely, do so correctly, do so in an informed fashion, but do so. Our future depends on the choices being made on Nov. 3, don’t fail to hold up to your end of the bargain. Do your part to keep democracy alive.