Kentucky Press News ServiceEligible voters in many Kentucky counties may already cast absentee votes for the Nov. 4 general election in their county clerks’ offices. All counties will allow eligible voters to cast in-person absentee ballots at least 12 working days before the election.
Lawrence Clerk Chris Jobe said he has had a much larger request for absentee ballots than in the last election with more than 100 at latest word already voting. He has had the voting machine in his office open for two weeks and more than two dozen have voted on it.Individuals who may be eligible to vote by in-person absentee ballot include:• Military personnel, their dependents, and overseas citizens who are absent from the county on Election Day• Military personnel confined to a base who learn of the confinement within seven days or less of the election• Students and residents who temporarily reside outside the county• Students who temporarily reside outside the county• Voters who temporarily reside outside Kentucky (e.g., vacationers)• Voters (and their spouses) who have surgery scheduled that will require hospitalization on Election Day• Women in their third trimester of pregnancy• Election officials (e.g., precinct election officers appointed to serve in precincts other than their own, alternate precinct election officers, and board of election members and staff)• Other voters who are absent from the county on Election Day“Every election matters, and every vote counts, so I hope as many of Kentucky’s voters as possible will make their voices heard in our General Election,” Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election official, said in a news release.In-person absentee voting is conducted during the county clerk’s regular business hours on voting machines similar to those used on Election Day. In-person absentee votes must be cast by close of business on Nov. 3.Individuals who do not qualify to vote absentee in person may be eligible to vote by mail-in absentee ballot. Voters may request an absentee ballot application from their county clerk in person or via telephone, fax, or email. In addition, under Grimes’ Military Heroes Voting Initiative, qualified military and overseas voters may apply for and receive an absentee ballot through a new online portal. Applications for mail-in absentee ballots must be received by the clerk’s office by no later than Oct. 28, and the county clerk must receive the completed absentee ballot by 6:00 p.m. local time on Election Day.Individuals with questions about absentee voting should contact their county clerk or the State Board of Elections. Additional information is also available at www.elect.ky.gov.
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Today (Oct. 17, 2014), a panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted in part Secretary Grimes’ emergency motion to stay the federal district court’s ruling that struck down Kentucky’s electioneering law.
Specifically, the Court stayed the district court’s ruling with respect to electioneering “in a public forum or on property on which a polling place is located.” The court did not stay the ruling with respect to private property.
Secretary Grimes said, “As Kentucky’s chief election official, I am committed to maintaining the integrity of our elections. I am glad the Court of Appeals granted this important relief to help prevent voter intimidation and election fraud in the upcoming election and to avoid confusion on November 4th.”
Before the Kentucky law was passed candidates used to cover the polling places with their signs and they and supporters (some hired) would stand next to the lines at the polls giving out cards for their favorite candidates attempting to sway their votes.
The practice got so gnarly in some counties that law enforcement had to be called in to break up the skirmishes. Since the law was passed, the card givers have been eliminated as well as the signs on polling places making it substantially easier for voters to exercise their right to vote.
The Sixth Circuit Federal Court ruled last week that stopping the electioneering at or around the polls was a violation of the First Amendment rights to Free Speec of the candidates and their helpers. The "stay" means the decision will not go into effect until after this year's general election which means candidates and their campaign workers will still have be be at least 300 feet from the polling places.
Lazer editor Mark Grayson contributed to this story.
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