Wednesday was “a good day for democracy,” according to Gov. Andy Beshear, who signed a measure to expand early voting in the state in a rare collaboration between the Democratic governor, the bill’s GOP sponsors in the legislature and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams. We couldn’t agree more.
The legislation, which is considered Kentucky’s most significant election law update in more than 100 years, adds three days of early in-person voting — one of which is a Saturday — prior to Election Day. It also enables counties to institute voting centers that offer any registered voter an opportunity to cast a ballot regardless of their precinct.
“This new law represents an important first step to preserve and protect every individual’s right to make their voice heard by casting their ballots in a secure and convenient manner on the date and time that works best for them,” Beshear said.
The new law also allows for widespread mail-in absentee balloting via an online portal where residents can request a mail ballot — something the state prohibited before the coronavirus pandemic unless a voter could claim advanced age, illness, a disability or was temporarily residing out of the state.
Not only are the sweeping election law changes now in tune with the times, but they offer more opportunities for voters to perform their civic duty during a time when states across the country are pushing for more restrictions in the wake of the 2020 election, after which former President Donald Trump baselessly claimed that fraud caused his defeat.
“While other states are caught up in partisan division, here in Kentucky we’re leading the nation in making it both easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Adams said.
Unlike Georgia, where new voting laws have come under intense public scrutiny and drawn criticism from some of the state’s largest corporate residents, Kentucky’s new election laws are proof that the two parties can put politics aside in order to work together for the greater good of the people.
“While some states have stepped in a different direction, I’m really proud of Kentucky," Beshear added.
We commend our elected leaders for seeing past party lines to make voting more accessible.