This year’s primary election will not be the same as it always has been.

At Friday's Franklin County Fiscal Court meeting, County Clerk Jeff Hancock announced his office's 2020 primary election plan and urged voters to vote via absentee ballot.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, Gov. Andy Beshear pushed back the primary election date from May 19 to June 23.

He also worked with the State Board of Elections to allow every registered voter to to vote by absentee ballot.

Typically, voters have to meet a certain criteria to qualify for an absentee ballot.

Hancock said Friday that Franklin County voters can log onto starting Friday, May 22, to request an absentee ballot.

“I want to assure Franklin County citizens that this is not only secure but the best way to vote at this point,” Hancock said.

Franklin County voters will have until June 17 to request an absentee ballot.

To ensure the votes are valid, the clerk’s office will verify each ballot’s signature using a state database.

When votes are counted, two Republican and two Democratic representatives will verify the envelopes through electronic scanning, then they will open the envelopes together to make sure the ballot was filled out correctly so the votes can be counted properly, Hancock said.

Each absentee ballot will come with a prepaid envelope so there will be no cost to the voter to mail a ballot.

Hancock said the clerk’s office will also be setting up a drop box for ballots for those who prefer to return them in-person.

In-person voting will still be available, but on a smaller scale.

Hancock is urging everyone who is able to request and fill out an absentee ballot. Due to COVID-19, in-person voting cannot happen as it normally does.

Hancock reiterated that for this year’s primary election to be successful and to make sure everyone can vote, at least 85% of those who plan to vote in-person in the primary election must vote before June 23.

Hancock also announced all election services will be located in the old Frankfort Plant Board building at 317 W. Second St.

In-person voting will begin June 1, Hancock said. From June 1 to June 5, voting will take place by appointment only for those who are among the most vulnerable to contract COVID-19, Hancock said.

From June 8 through June 23, walk-in voting will take place.

From June 8 through June 21, the West Second Street voting location will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

On June 22, polls will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Election Day, June 23, polls will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hancock said he’s exploring ways for the county to open up more polling places, but he could not confirm any dates, times or locations on Friday.

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