Last updated: October 2020
NOTE: For the November 3, 2020 General Election, Kentuckians concerned with contracting or spreading COVID-19 can request a ballot by mail. An online portal to request your absentee ballot is available here.
For the November 3, 2020 General Election, counties will offer limited in-person voting on Election Day. Voters can find their local polling place here. All polling places will be open on Election Day from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Persons who arrive to the polls after 6:00 p.m. will not be allowed to vote.
For the November 3, 2020 general election, in-person Election Day voting will be limited. Please see below for in-person early voting and by-mail absentee voting information.
Voters can check local hours and locations for in-person absentee voting and Election Day voting here.
How to Find Your Polling Place: Visit the Kentucky State Board of Elections Voter Information Center.
Registration Deadlines: Generally, you must register at least 29 days prior to the election. The voter registration deadline for the November 3, 2020 General Election is October 5, 2020.
How to Check Your Registration: Use Kentucky’s Voter Information Center.
Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to vote in Kentucky, you must:
- Be a citizen of the United States;
- Be a resident of Kentucky and the precinct in which you plan to vote on at least the day before the registration books close. The voter registration closes 29 days before an election.
- Be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day;
- Not be incarcerated if convicted of a felony (voters can check here to see if they are eligible to vote if they have been convicted of a felony; and
- Not have been declared mentally incompetent in a court of law.
How to Register: Kentucky residents may register online, by mail or in person:
Voters may register to vote online via the Kentucky Online Voter Registration website.
In order to register by mail, you must obtain a mail-in registration card by:
- Downloading it from the State Board of Elections website; or
- Picking it up from your county clerk’s Office.
You may register to vote in person at your local county clerk’s Office.
Identification Required for Registration:
Voters may register online or by mail without identification; however, see “Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot” below to determine what type of identification voters must provide when voting at the polls on Election Day.
If You Want to Vote Early
For the November 3, 2020 General Election, all voters may vote early in-person. Anyone may vote early in-person, the voter need not be concerned about contracting or spreading COVID-19 to vote in this manner.
Early voting begins on October 13, 2020 and will be offered every weekday between October 13 and November 3, including every Saturday for at least four hours. Check with your local clerk to determine times and locations for early in-person voting.
Voters can check local hours and locations for in-person absentee voting and Election Day voting here.
If You Want to Vote Absentee
For the November 3, 2020 General Election, all registered voters who are concerned with contracting or spreading COVID-19 can request an absentee ballot. An online portal to request your absentee ballot is available here. Voters may also request an absentee ballot by phone or in-person at their clerk’s office.
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is October 9, 2020 but voters are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to help ensure their ballot arrives in a timely manner. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 3, 2020 and must be received by November 6, 2020.
Voters do not have to pay postage to mail in their absentee ballot. Additionally, there are drop boxes where voters can drop off their completed absentee ballots. Voters should contact their county clerk’s office for the locations of absentee ballot drop box locations.
Voters can check the status of their absentee ballot here.
To qualify to vote by mail-in absentee ballot, you must be one of the following:
- Person who due to age, disability or illness will be unable to go to the polls on election day, (concern about contracting or spreading COVID-19 is a qualifying reason to vote by absentee).
- Student who temporarily resides outside the county in which he is registered.
- Voter who temporarily resides outside the state but who is still eligible to vote in the state.
- Person who is incarcerated and has been charged with a crime but has yet to be convicted.
- Person whose employment location requires him to be absent from the county all hours and all days absentee voting by machine is conducted.
- Military personnel confined to a military base on election day.
- Person who is participant in the Office of the Secretary of State’s address confidentiality program.
In the case of medical emergencies within fourteen days or less of an election, a registered voter and the registered voter’s spouse may apply for an absentee ballot by requesting Form SBE 45, Medical Emergency Application for an Absentee Ballot from the county clerk’s office. The application shall be notarized. The application form may be requested by and delivered by the voter or the spouse, parents, or children of the voter. If the voter has no spouse, parents, or children, the application form may be requested by and delivered by the brother, sister, niece, nephew, or designee of the voter.
Rules and Deadlines:
- For the November 3, 2020 General Election, the mail-in absentee application deadline is Friday, October 9, 2020.
The absentee ballot must be postmarked by November 3, 2020 and must be received by the county clerk’s office by November 6, 2020.
Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot
A photo identification (ID) will be required to vote in the November 2020 General Election. The most common form of a valid photo ID is your driver’s license, but other examples of acceptable ID (as long as they include your name and photo) are Military ID, College ID, or Kentucky government ID.
However, other proof of ID can be provided, as discussed below. In the absence of proof of identification, a voter’s identity can be confirmed by personal acquaintance with an election official if the election official signs an affirmation.
Other proof of ID is limited to a document that (1) contains the name and photograph of the individual to whom it was issued and (2) was issued by:
- The United States or Commonwealth of Kentucky;
- The US 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; or
- Any city government, county government, urban-county government, charter county government, consolidated local government, or unified local government, which is located within this state.
Voters without an acceptable photo ID need to produce one of the following forms of non-photo ID to the election officer:
- Social Security Card;
- Voter ID card issued by a county in Kentucky and approved by the State Board of Elections
- Any ID card with both the voter’s photo and name;
- Any food stamp ID card, electronic benefit transfer card, or supplemental nutrition assistance card issued by KY that shows voter’s name; or
- A credit or debit card that shows the voter’s name.
The voter also must sign an affidavit stating the voter has one of the following reasonable impediments to obtaining an acceptable photo ID:
- Lack of transportation
- Inability to financially afford a copy of their birth certificate or other underlying documentation
- Work schedule
- Lost or stolen ID
- Disability or illness
- Family responsibilities
- The ID has been applied for but not yet received
- Religious objection to being photographed
- For the November 3, 2020 general election, Kentuckians who were unable to get a driver’s license 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.
A voter who presents both the above ID and affirmation listing one of the above reasonable impediments can vote a regular ballot. A voter who cannot meet one or both of the above conditions may sign an affirmation swearing to their citizenship, eligibility to vote, name, date of birth, and address and vote a provisional ballot. That ballot will be counted if the voter provides the county clerk with one of the non-photo IDs listed above and signs the reasonable impediment affirmation by the close of business on the Friday following the election.
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. For a new ID, you must apply in-person and you’re encouraged to make an appointment. A Birth Certificate and Social Security card (photocopies not accepted) and proof of residency are required in obtaining a new ID.
Any voter who does not have proper identification can vote by provisional ballot but this is a last resort. If the voter has an acceptable ID, it is preferable for the voter to return home and obtain the ID.
Moving Within the Same Precinct
Voters who move within 29 days of the election, should update your registration or with your county clerk. If you move less than 29 days before the election, you should update your address at your polling place when you vote.
Moving within the Same County
If you have moved from one precinct to another within the same county, you can update the registration records and vote in the present election at the precinct designated for your new address upon affirmation of your new address and signing the precinct list. You must also confirm your identity and submit an affidavit prior to being allowed to vote.
Moving Between Counties
If you have moved to a different county before the registration books close (29 days before an election), you must update your voter registration with the new county clerk or update your driver’s license in the new county prior to the voter registration deadline. Otherwise you will not be eligible to vote at either your old or new address.
If you have moved to a different county on or after the registration books close (29 days before the election), you may vote at the appropriate precinct for your former residence in your former county. However, you must register to vote in your new county of residence to vote in future elections.
Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for absentee voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and merchant marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside the United States (together these groups are called UOCAVA voters).
Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot
UOCAVA voters can register to vote and request an absentee ballot by:
- Using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) Kentucky-specific FPCA webpage for more information. To register to vote, the FPCA postcard must be postmarked 29 days before an election. The voter can get also get step-by-step assistance at https://elect.ky.gov/Voters/Pages/Military-or-Overseas-Voters.aspx.
- Completing and submitting the declaration accompanying a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which is obtainable online or by contacting the appropriate county clerk, a United States Consulate or Embassy, or a Military Branch Voting Assistance Officer. For more information, visit the Kentucky Military & Overseas Voting Services webpage. To request an absentee ballot: the county clerk must receive the ballot request at least 7 days before an election.
- Following the absentee voting procedures available to all voters.
Receiving an Absentee Ballot
UOCAVA voters may receive their blank absentee ballots by U.S. Mail or electronic transmission. Completed ballots must be returned via mail to a voter’s election official. The voter can get also get step-by-step assistance here.
Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot
The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a ballot that can be used by UOCAVA voters. Eligible voters can use their FWAB whether they are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses), provided that they are away from their voting residence due to being overseas, either permanently/indefinitely or temporarily, or on active duty. To vote in an election the FWAB must be received by the county clerk no later than 6:00 p.m., local time, on Election Day. For specific instructions, visit the Kentucky-specific FWAB webpage. The voter can get also get step-by-step assistance here.
Voters can check to see if their rights have been restored here.
Rights are restored automatically to people with some past felony convictions who:
- have completed their full sentence, probation, and parole; or
- who are still on probation or parole only because of unpaid fines or restitution.
Rights were not restored to people who were:
- convicted of bribery, treason, sex offenses, and some “violent” offenses as defined by Kentucky law;
- convicted in a different state; or
- convicted of federal crimes.
If your rights were not restored, you can petition the Governor for restoration of civil rights. The application is free and can be found here. The application takes up to twelve weeks to process.
If a voter believes their rights should have been restored but their name is not in the database, the voter should call the Kentucky Department of Corrections at 502-782-2266 or email them at CivilRights.Restoration@KY.gov.
Documents are being updated.