LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After what many are calling a successful primary, how will Kentucky’s general election in November look?
No plan has been decided, but Gov. Andy Beshear said he wants to see no-excuse absentee voting and expanded early voting again in November.
“As we see, that drove a huge turnout and I hope we can keep it permanently,” Beshear said Wednesday.
University of Kentucky election law professor Josh Douglas said the new rules helped prevent long lines on election day in many areas.
“I think we absolutely need to continue to have no-excuse absentee balloting, as well as robust early voting,” Douglas said. “Those two things really worked. We’re going to see that probably over 80 percent of the vote came in from mailed-in ballots. People love the convenience of being able to vote from home.”
The most recent numbers from the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office posted Thursday said 681,432 absentee ballots have been returned to county clerks and 110,339 people voted early. The unofficial in-person statewide total is 161,238 votes.
Several groups have sued Gov. Beshear, Secretary of State Michael Adams, and other election officials, hoping to get a judge to implement expanded absentee and early voting for November.
“The idea that we would be going back and forcing people to stand in lines on Election Day is quite scary,” ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director Corey Shapiro said. “And we should never be making people make a choice between their own health and participating in the electoral process.”
The lawsuit also seeks to prevent elements of Kentucky’s new Voter ID from taking effect in November.
“It just creates an unnecessary burden,” Shapiro said.
As long as the current state of emergency because of the coronavirus continues, Douglas said the Governor and the Secretary of State can set the guidelines for the election.
“But if the Governor and the Secretary of State can work together again, just like they did previously in a great, bipartisan fashion, to create strong pro-voter rules for November, I think that’s the best possible outcome,” Douglas said.
Adams denounced the lawsuit when it was filed as an attempt by liberal groups to remove lawmakers’ ability to write election laws.
Friday, the Secretary of State's office released a statement saying "...It is still too early to discuss what plans need to be put in place for November elections"