LOUISVILLE, Ky. — You've remembered your driver's license or picture ID, you have the right polling place, and yet you are turned away at the polls on Election Day.
What happens now?
There are any number of reasons why you may be told you can't vote on Election Day. Maybe you've moved recently and haven't updated your registration. Maybe you haven't voted in a while and you've been marked as inactive.
This does not mean you should walk out of the precinct and not vote.
Here is what you should do.
DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT POLLING PLACE?
- Make sure you have the right polling place. You can look up your polling place, which should be based on your current address, by going to your county elections office. We have links on our Decision 2020 Voting Guide.
- With the pandemic, not all polling places will be open, but there are several locations in every county in the state and you can find them here.
- Know that if you haven't updated your address with the local elections office, you may be challenged at the polls. You can update your address if you moved within the county, and a poll worker can help either direct you to the right polling place or update your address.
- If you recently moved into the county, you need to call the supervisor of elections office in your county for help in handling your registration.
DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT VOTER IDENTIFICATION?
Kentuckians who are unable to get a photo ID due to the pandemic because their circuit clerk’s office was closed, or because they were afraid of exposing themselves to COVID-19, can sign a document explaining this concern, produce an approved non-photo ID, and cast their ballot.
The most common form of a valid photo ID is your driver’s license. Other examples of acceptable ID (as long as they include your name and photo) are:
- Military ID
- College ID
- Kentucky government ID
A voter’s identity can be confirmed by personal acquaintance with an election official, but now the election official must sign an affirmation.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE OR CAN’T GET A PHOTO ID?
Senate Bill 2 went into effect July 15, 2020. SB2 provides a free state-issued ID card for individuals who are at least 18 and do not have a valid driver’s license. To obtain a free state-issued photo ID card, visit your local Circuit Clerk’s office or one of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s regional offices.
In addition, voters who cannot obtain a photo ID can sign a “Reasonable Impediment Declaration” (stating reason for inability to obtain photo ID) and present one of the following non-photo IDs:
- Social Security Card
- Any ID issued by a county in KY that’s been approved by the State Board of Elections and shows voter’s name)
- Any ID card with both the voter’s photograph and name
- Any food stamp ID card, electronic benefit transfer card, or supplemental nutrition assistance card issued by KY that shows voter’s name
- A credit or debit card that shows voter’s name.
A valid ID to vote is a document issued by:
- The United States or the Commonwealth of Kentucky
- The United States Department of Defense, a branch of the uniformed services, the Merchant Marines, or the Kentucky National Guard
- A public or private college, university, or postgraduate technical or professional school located within the United States
- Any city government, county government, urban-county government, charter county government, consolidated local government, or unified local government, which is located within this state
RECENTLY REGISTERED BUT NOT IN THE SYSTEM?
If for any reason you are not in the system, take the following steps:
- Ask poll workers to check any surrounding systems for your name
- Ask to sign an affidavit swearing your eligibility
- Call or visit your local elections office if you are not being helped by poll workers
- Ask for a provisional ballot and follow up afterwards to make sure it's counted. You may have to provide additional information.
STILL BEING TURNED AWAY FROM THE POLLS?
Remember to be calm and clear in your intentions. Don't get aggressive or overly frustrated. Make it clear you are there to exercise your right to vote. Then call local election officials to report any ill treatment by poll workers and to get help voting.
If you are still not getting satisfaction, you can call the following numbers:
- Kentucky State Board of Elections: 502-573-7100 or 1-800-246-1399
- The U.S. Dept. of Justice Voting Rights Hotline: 1-800-253-3931