Sen. Reggie Thomas pre-files bill to allow in-person early voting three Saturdays preceding any election

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Senator Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, has pre-filed legislation that, if approved in the 2018 Regular Session, would allow in-person early voting three Saturdays preceding any primary, general, or special election.

Reggie Thomas

Bill Request 49 (BR 49) would allow qualified Kentucky voters in their county of residence to cast their ballot in-person any time between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., three Saturdays prior to the election date. Under this legislation, county clerks will designate a location within his or her office where the early voting ballots shall be cast privately and secretly. The county board of elections, with approval of the State Board of Elections, may establish other locations in which the voters may execute their early voting ballots with approval and public notice.

“Kentucky voters are hard-working and dedicated people. Many work long hours, have lengthy commutes, or are college students fearful of missing classes, which can make it difficult to cast their ballot in-person on Election Day,” Sen. Thomas said. “Implementing an in-person early voting system in Kentucky will give all Kentuckians the opportunity to have their voice heard at the ballot box.”

Also included in BR 49, a person permitted to cast an early vote would be confirmed by the county clerk or an election official that all voting eligibility requirements are met. If so, the voter will sign an early voter signature roster to ensure that only one ballot is cast. At 6 p.m. the county clerk would announce that a voter wishing to cast an early voter ballot must immediately get in line and from there, determine who the last person in line is.

The county board of elections may appoint a central early voting ballot counting board of no less than three members, who must be qualified, with no more than two-thirds (2/3) of the members belonging to the same political party. All early voting ballots would be counted in the same manner as in-person absentee ballots.

BR 49 will be considered when the General Assembly convenes Tuesday, January 2.

Senator Thomas represents Senate District 13 in Fayette County. He has served in the Kentucky State Senate since 2014.

From Legislative Research Commission

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