By Kari Lutes, Features Editor
For most students on campus, the 2016 election held on Nov. 8 will be their first opportunity to vote for president. While the opportunity to let their voice be heard is exciting, the process can also be confusing for the first time voter—especially if that voter is a college student living outside of their home county. Here’s a how-to on the ins and outs of voter registration and absentee ballots so that students can ensure their voices will be heard in this upcoming election.
Anyone who will be 18 by Nov. 8 is eligible to vote in the upcoming election, but they must be registered. To register to vote in Kentucky, students can visit the Kentucky.gov website at: https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/vic/ . This link will also provide students with other voter information like their precinct location.
If they are not registered, the deadline to register to vote in Kentucky is Oct. 11. Students can register online by visiting this link: https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/ovrweb/ to submit a registration application. The application must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Oct. 11. Students can also register by mail, which must be postmarked by Oct 11, or by visiting their county clerk’s office. They will need to provide their social security number to register.
If a student is registered in a different state, they cannot register to vote in Kentucky and will need to check with their county clerk on how to obtain an absentee ballot.
Any student who will not be in their home county (the county where they are registered to vote) will need to apply for an absentee ballot in order to cast their vote. To obtain an absentee ballot, students must request an application. To make this request students can visit their home county’s website and fill out an application. This can also be done by mail, or a parent of the student can visit the county clerk’s office to make the request. Only parents, spouses or children of the voter are able to make the request in the voter’s place, and the application can only be mailed to the voter. Once the request in processed, the application will be mailed to the voter, unless the request is made by the voter in person.
In Kentucky, voters must fill out the application and return it to their county clerk’s office by 5 p.m. on Nov. 1 in order to receive their absentee ballot by mail. Once students receive the ballot, they can cast their vote. The completed ballot must be received by their county clerk’s office by 6 p.m. on Election Day (Nov 8), or the ballot will not be counted.
Students can also cast their vote in person before Election Day through in-house absentee ballot voting. This process is separate from the mail-in ballot process, and students should check with their county clerk’s office to be sure they are eligible to vote in-house and to find out what dates they can vote in their county.
For more information students voting in Kentucky can visit: elect.ky.gov.