Voters concerned with absentee ballot discrepancies as June primary approaches

Absentee ballots causing concern in Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – People in Kentucky are being encouraged to vote with absentee ballots for the June 23 primary election. However, some voters say they are worried about apparent issues in the process.

Bullitt County resident Ron Crouch said he has come across several concerns.

“When I looked at the instructions, they were dated October 2017 - two and a half years ago,” Crouch said.

WAVE 3 News obtained a copy of these absentee voting instructions. The one page, three step guide appears to contain information that was not updated for the June 23 primary. In the section titled ‘Step 3: Return Envelopes to County Clerk’ voters are instructed to “affix proper postage to outer envelope” and told there will be a postage or delivery fee. In the same section, voters are also told “hand delivery will not be accepted" for mail-in absentee ballots.

Speaking in Frankfort Friday, Sec. of State Michael Adams explained the state will pay for the postage needed to mail absentee ballots back to county clerks. Adams also stated hand delivery of absentee ballots is allowed.

“If you want the personal security of hand delivering your ballot instead of putting it in the mail, you can do that. In fact, we're providing drop boxes free of charge to all the counties if they would like one so that you can personally go to your county clerk and drop your ballot in the bin,” Adams said. “These drop boxes will be under supervision by the clerks staff, they’ll be completely safe.”

Crouch said he has also seen inconsistencies with the prepaid postage that appears on absentee ballot return envelopes. His own ballot return postage was $1.10 in Bullitt County. Another concerned voter told WAVE 3 News her ballot return postage was $0.55 in Jefferson County.

“If the postage was insufficient will the United States post office reject those,” Crouch asked.

Crouch said he even has concerns with the application process needed to get an absentee ballot.

Registered voters can request an absentee ballot application by phone, fax, email, mail or in person at a County Clerk’s office. Unless the application is received in person, it will be mailed to the person who requested it. Absentee voters can then submit the application in person or return in by mail. Crouch believes the additional cost of postage and the timeline it would take to receive and submit the application by mail could all act as potential barriers for voters.

As of Friday, registered voters in Kentucky can also apply for an absentee ballot online at govoteky.com

“Well there's a portal now that people can go to, it's very simple. It just seems to be the best and safest way to vote this year,” District 7 Metro councilwoman Paula McCraney said.

McCraney, who worked for eight years at the Jefferson County Clerks Office, said her constituents have not reported any issues so far with absentee ballots.

Registered voters in Jefferson County are still able to vote in-person at the Kentucky Exposition Center on June 23. No other polling places will be open in the county.

The last day to register to vote is May 26 while the last day to request an absentee ballot is June 15.

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