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Higdon: 3 ways to exercise your right to vote in this November’s General Election

By JIMMY HIGDON
14th District State Senator

Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020 — Can you believe we are less than two months away from the 2020 election? If you are like me, you are probably ready for election season—and all of 2020, for that matter—to be over. I think we are all looking forward to brighter days.

SEN. JIMMY HIGDON

On November 3, many of us will come together in a shared act of exercising our right to vote. Voting is a fundamentally important responsibility that each eligible adult citizen has. Here in Kentucky, bipartisan efforts crafted a safe and secure voting plan for this year’s election. I want to do my part to make sure you know your voting options as Election Day approaches.

There are three voting options available to you since the election occurs during an ongoing State of Emergency. All of the following information is available to you at the website of the Kentucky Secretary of State at sos.ky.gov.

ABSENTEE VOTING. One option is absentee voting. This option is available for people concerned about COVID-19, or those in the vulnerable population at the highest risk, such as the elderly or people with underlying health problems. If this applies to you, you can request an absentee ballot by mail. The online portal to make your request for an absentee ballot is govoteky.com. This portal closes on October 9, so make your request before that date or earlier.

If you choose this option, remember that the postmark on your ballot must be by Election Day, November 3. It cannot arrive at your county clerk’s office any later than November 6. There will be drop boxes available at county clerk’s offices if you feel more comfortable delivering it yourself due to potential postal delays. Furthermore, you have to ensure you properly sign all required portions of your ballot and the return envelope. Your vote could be in jeopardy by making mistakes when filling out your ballot, so please be diligent.

EARLY VOTING STARTS OCT. 13. Beginning October 13, early voting will be another option for voters. Suppose you do not like the idea of a mail-in ballot. In that case, county clerks will be providing a location for safe, in-person voting. You will be able to cast an early vote in person during regular work hours on Monday-Friday and at least four hours on Saturday. This option is not to be confused with absentee voting. Anyone can vote early in person.

ELECTION DAY VOTING. Your third option is the traditional in-person Election Day voting. I have always enjoyed Election Day’s thrill. For me, this will be my option of choice. County clerks will decide their plans for voting sites. Every county must have at least one voting supercenter, where voters in the county can safely vote in person, regardless of their precinct. Polls will be open from 6 am to 6 pm local time on November 3. Please listen for updates on WBRT AM/FM or check the Nelson County Gazette about the specific plans for voting in Nelson County.

One other element of this year’s election is the recently implemented voter ID law. While this law is in effect, the ongoing state of emergency called for the implementation of exemptions. Eligible voters unable to get a new driver’s license or photo ID due to the pandemic can still vote. They can sign a document explaining why they do not have an ID and then cast their vote.

In summary, the submission of absentee ballot requests through the online portal is due October 9. Early voting begins October 13, and Election Day is November 3. There is no excuse not to make your voice heard in this year’s election. Measures have been put in place to protect your vote and ensure election integrity. Careful monitoring of absentee ballots will be occurring throughout the process. Voters requesting a ballot must verify their personal information online. The county clerk’s office must verify voter’s signatures on returned ballots using the eligible voter’s signatures on record. Progress of cleanup of Kentucky’s voter rolls has been a priority recently. Make sure you vote!

SCAM ATTEMPTS. I want to bring your attention to and warn you about scam attempts. I have recently received alarming text message scam attempts. For example, some people are receiving is a message that they have an undelivered package. Some reports indicate scammers are trying to take advantage of the ongoing pandemic. People have received a text message telling them they have tested positive for COVID-19. The Federal Trade Commission has reported text messages and other phishing attempts where scammers are posing as contact tracers to get personal information. Scammers may use the upcoming election to conduct scams. Be abundantly cautious when you receive suspicious text messages, phone calls, emails, or even physical mail.

You can review other possible scams targeting Kentuckians on Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s official website, ag.ky.gov. I encourage you to visit that site. You can also sign up for alerts by texting KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311). If you think you have received a scam attempt, you should report it to the Attorney General’s Office at 888-432-9257 or file a scam complaint on the website.

REMEMBERING 9/11. Finally, I hope you will join me in remembrance of the American lives lost in New York City on September 11, 2001, in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centers. It is hard to believe that we are nearly two decades removed from that tragic day in our nation’s history. Let us pray for comfort and peace for the families who lost loved ones that day.

In closing, I know many of you are still facing challenges related to unemployment, Non-Traditional Instruction during the school year this fall, and understandable fears of the ongoing pandemic. I would love to hear from you and be of any help that I can. Please reach out to me by phone at 270-692-6945 or by email to jimmy.higdon@lrc.ky.gov if I can be of assistance. As always, thank you to local newspapers and radio stations in the 14th Senate District. Please take the time to subscribe and to tune in to your local news sources. It is where trusted news originates. Stay safe, and God bless.

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