Kentucky Develops a Surprisingly Good Model for Mail-In Voting
Here is the Entire Thread courtesy of @JoshuaADouglas
Kentucky Mail-In Model
- @KYSecState delivered recommendations for running Nov election in Kentucky. It’s VERY good news. Let’s walk through the provisions. But here’s the bottom line: anyone who believes they need to vote by mail cause of #COVID may do so.
- KY will essentially run election in 3 stages. First is vote-by-mail. Online portal to request a mail-in ballot will open on Aug. 21. Voters will have until Oct. 9 to request a ballot. Though an “excuse” is needed, any voter can say they want to vote by mail cause of #COVID.
- Both sides should claim victory: technically an excuse is required, but every voter has a valid excuse if they believe that voting in person will subject them to an unreasonable risk of harm from the coronavirus.
- The relevant language is “of an age, or possessing of a health condition or vulnerability, or potentially in contact [with someone with age or health concerns] that the voter believes subjects the voter or other person to unacceptable risk of harm from the novel coronavirus.”
- There’s no age cut-off. No specific health criteria. Only the voter can say whether they qualify. Formally, an excuse is required; functionality, everyone qualifies.
- Voters can return their ballots via secure ballot drop boxes—and there will be more than in June (though still maybe not enough). They can also mail them in.
- If mailing in, ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 6. I’m really happy they made the postmark deadline Election Day.
- @KYSecState just reiterated: "it's the voter's subjective determination" if they have a #COVID reason to vote absentee. It's the voter's "subjective decision."
- This next provision should avoid lots of mistakes: county clerks must highlight the two places on the ballot envelopes where voters must sign, to avoid the problem of voters not realizing they must sign twice.
- In addition—and this is HUGE—counties must notify voters regarding ANY rejected ballot and give that voter an opportunity to cure the error. That means that missing signature, mismatched signature, removal of flap, etc. can all be cured--by 6 days after election.
- Further, State Board of Elections must promulgate a uniform statewide regulation that will allow counties to count a ballot even if the voter made a minor mistake. This will lead to a lot fewer rejected ballots.
- Early voting will open on Oct. 13, meaning there will be *three weeks* of early voting. That must include three Saturdays for at least 4 hours on those Saturdays. Anyone can vote early in-person.
- Election Day voting. Each county must have at least one Vote Center where any voter in the county may go. Counties must seek approval of Gov and SOS for reducing polling places—an attempt to avoid the single-polling-place-per-county problem.
- There will be fewer polling places because of a lack of poll workers. But hopefully counties will submit sensible plans, and both the (Dem) Gov and (Repub) SOS must agree to those plans to reduce polling places.
- Now, some (slightly) bad news: new photo ID law is still being implemented, but with tweaks to ease burden on those w/o an ID. Essentially, voters w/o photo ID can claim COVID-related reason for not having ID, fill out “reasonable impediment” form, and cast a regular ballot.
- The new law allows anyone without a photo ID, but with a non-photo ID, to fill out the reasonable impediment form. The problem is that the list of reasons is not inclusive enough. The new rule expands list of reasons for why someone doesn’t have an ID to include COVID.
- Voters who use the online portal to request an absentee ballot, and have the portal pull their DMV information (almost all absentee voters), need not do anything else to comply with the photo ID requirement. The online system has verified their identity.
- I was very concerned about absentee voters needing to print out a copy of their ID, as text of new photo ID law seems to require. That’s not necessary with the online portal serving as the identity check through DMV data.
- I still think the state should just delay implementation of photo ID entirely. There has been virtually no voter education of this new burden, which was not in effect in June. The reasonable impediment form could cause longer lines at the polls. And the law is unnecessary.
- I think the court hearing the case will reject ACLU’s first claim on modifying the election procedures—they did that very well!—but there’s a chance the court will still order the state to delay photo ID law entirely.
- Either way, these modifications to new photo ID law due to COVID are step in the right direction to ease the burdens of this law. I’m glad that those using vote-by-mail will not have to do anything else, and that in-person voters have more outlets if they don’t have photo ID.
- So where do we end up? A more expansive voting plan than normal. Remember that KY normally has restrictive voting laws: excuse required for absentee or early voting, with limited list of excuses. This is pretty close to the better plan from the successful June primary.
- Essentially no-excuse absentee balloting allowed, although we’re not calling it that, as voters still must say that they believe they are at risk to vote in person cause of COVID concerns. But that’s the voter’s decision.
- Fewer mail-in ballots will be rejected because voters notified of all mistakes, not just signature mismatches as in June. Early voting for three weeks, including at least four hours on each of the three Saturdays leading up to Election Day.
- In-person voting, with more polling places than in June (but fewer than in a normal year). If you want more in-person polling places, sign up to be a poll worker.
- New photo ID law still in place, but more excuses allowed under reasonable impediment provision due to COVID and online portal pulling DMV data for voters using vote-by-mail.
- This is a good, bipartisan plan. I’m really happy with almost all of it (everything except full delay of photo ID law)—and that’s saying a lot. I applaud and for working in such a bipartisan manner to create a plan to protect KY voters.
- This is again a model for how election administration should be done. Most people should find something they like here—and most importantly, voters have multiple options for voting this November. #AllEyesonKentucky once again for good election law news.
- This plan—3 flexible ways for voters to choose how to vote—is a model for how to run a successful election. If you fear #COVID transmission, request your vote-by-mail ballot (preferably) using the online portal. If you want to vote in person, go early. Or vote on Nov. 3.
Here is the Official Announcement from Secretary of State Michael Adams (R) to Governor Andy Beshear (D).
Wow. That is the way it should be.
Rare Bipartisan Success
I believe in voting IDs, but the rest of the outline is a rare bipartisan effort that makes sense.
If states adopt this procedure it will end all of the nonsense about the post office warning it cannot handle the surge in volume.
- Post Office Warns 46 States It Cannot Handle a Surge in Ballots
- Huge Opening for Election Fraud by Trump
- Republicans are in a No-Win Position on the Post Office