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Opinion: This state has it right on voting in the age of Covid-19

May 5, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

This state got it right on voting in the age of Covid-19. Joshua A. Douglas writes that at a time when partisanship is running rampant, Kentucky's leaders have found a way to come together over voting rights in time for the primary coming up in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

That agreement -- which expands vote-by-mail for all voters, permits in-person voting for those who need it, and allows the state to begin the process of cleaning up the voter rolls -- pales in comparison to the debacle in Wisconsin, where partisan bickering and court decisions that fell along ideological lines led voters to face an unfathomable choice between their health and their fundamental right to vote.

Adams -- who under state law can jointly alter the "manner" of an election during a state of emergency -- have changed Kentucky's strict election rules substantially to make it easier to vote.

Kentucky is one of 16 states that normally requires an excuse to vote absentee, but the agreement allows any voter to claim a "medical emergency" because of the coronavirus.

In addition, the state will mail a postcard to every voter in the state to notify them of these procedures, which will include the URL to request an absentee ballot (the State Board of Elections is still finalizing the portal).

If the postcards are returned as undeliverable, then the state will use that fact in the first step of a process to clean up the voter rolls, though federal and state law forbids the state from purging any voters unless the person both fails to respond to an additional mailed notice and then fails to vote in two subsequent November federal elections.

To be sure, it would better for the state to mail every voter an absentee ballot automatically without the voter needing to request one, as occurs in five other states, but Kentucky Secretary of State Adams refused to do so given his concerns, overblown as they may be, about bloated voter rolls.

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