What You Need To Know Before You Hit The Polls

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Election Day is upon us. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting will be watchdogging the polls and on the lookout for any irregularities or issues that may pop up. (And we need your help).

If you, like us, are hoping for a seamless Election Day, there are several things you should know before you pull the lever, punch those buttons or fill out your ballot.

 

WHERE DO I VOTE?

Use your name and birth date to look up your polling precinct location and legislative district here.

The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you’re in line at 6 p.m., you can still vote: The precinct sheriff goes to the end of the line and stays there until everyone in front of him/her has voted.

Kentucky spans two time zones and voting hours apply to your local time zone.

i-voted-creative-commonsWHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?

State law requires that the poll worker be able to verify your identity by “personal acquaintance,” through an identification card with a picture and photo, or with a government-issued identification card.

Here are acceptable methods of identification:
– Driver’s license
– Social Security card
– ID issued by US government / ID issued by Kentucky government
– Credit card
– Any identification card with your picture and signature

 

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes predicts 60 percent of the state’s registered voters will cast ballots on Tuesday. So what does that mean for you?

Our partners at Electionland created this nifty tool to give you a glimpse into your county’s turnout history, based on 2012 data.

Kentucky fares fairly well when it comes to wait times at polling precincts, according to the analysis. Voters waited about 8 minutes on average.

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WHAT WILL MY BALLOT LOOK LIKE?

Click here, choose your county and view a sample ballot.

Your county board of elections chooses which voting equipment you’ll use on Election Day. The machines are purchased by the county fiscal court. And the state board of elections certifies which machines can be purchased.

CAN I SNAP A SELFIE IN THE VOTING BOOTH? (I heard Justin Timberlake took a voting selfie and got in trouble, OMG)

Sure, YOU can. Kentucky law does not expressly prohibit a voter from taking a “ballot selfie,” according to the Secretary of State’s office.

jtJustin Timberlake, the big name crooner and Clinton supporter, sparked controversy last month when he snapped a voting booth pic and posted it to Instagram. That was an apparent no-no in Tennessee.

In an opinion issued last week, Kentucky’s attorney general ruled that a “ballot selfie” is not illegal. But a couple rules still apply: The picture can’t identify another voter in the room, and a selfie-taker can’t be communicating “support or nonsupport” of any candidate or ballot measure while in the voting room.

“Ultimately, we see no reason to conclude that the occurrence of ‘ballot selfies’
threatens the independence of the voter or the secrecy of the ballot given that any sharing of a personal ballot is a voluntary lifting of the veil of secrecy afforded to a voter’s ballot,” assistant attorney general Taylor Payne wrote in the opinion.

The rules vary in our neighboring states. Selfies are illegal in Illinois. They are OK in Virginia and Indiana. The law is a little murky in Tennessee, West Virginia and Ohio. Check out this map and story in the New York Times.

 

DO I HAVE TO VOTE IN EVERY RACE?

Nope. You are not required to vote in every race. Blank sections on your ballot will not affect any of the other votes you have cast.

 

WHAT IF I HAVE ANY PROBLEMS? WHO DO I CONTACT?
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If your name isn’t on the roster or you don’t have identification, you can cast a provisional ballot.

If you have problems, you may want to start with your precinct’s election officers. Each precinct is required to have four election officers serve on the day of the election.

You can contact your county clerk.

Your can try your county board of elections. Each county’s board has four members.

The Kentucky State Board of Elections will be fielding phone calls at (502) 573.7100.

The attorney general has a toll-free election fraud hotline at (800) 328.8683.

After you contact officials, give our newsroom a call with details, (502) 81.46541.

 

CAN FOLKS ELECTIONEER AND POLITIC NEAR THE PRECINCT?

The polling precinct is supposed to be an electioneering-free zone. No one should be attempting to intimidate or coerce you.

The law states no person may electioneer within 100 feet of a polling place. However, the restriction does not apply to private property unless it is being used as a voting location, exit polling, or bumper stickers on vehicles that are present for a reasonable amount of time in which to vote.

 

SO I VOTED, NOW WHAT?

After you cast your ballot, follow along as we report on voting issues across the state. Our colleagues at WFPL News will be reporting on Louisville elections as well as the big state races. 89.3 WFPL will be carrying live coverage.

We’ll be on Twitter using the hashtag #KYvote.

Also, for more on voting issues across the country, follow the Electionland project @Electionland.

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