How to Register to Vote in Kentucky
The hallmark of the United States is its democracy and the rights it provides people to elect the people responsible for the functioning of the government. In the United States, elections are held to choose government officials at the federal, state and local levels. For electing the head of the nation, people choose the President indirectly through an Electoral College. Members of the legislature for the federal level are elected directly by the people of each state. Besides, people also directly elect one Governor for each state; as well as officials for local government levels such as counties, cities, townships, boroughs, and villages.
The eligibility to vote for an individual is established both through the United States Constitution as well as by laws governing individual states. Throughout the history of the United States, there have been various amendments to the Constitution to allow individuals to participate in the electoral process. The Constitution prohibits states from preventing individuals exercising their rights to vote in ways that infringe on a person’s right to protection under the law, on the context of race and ethnicity, and on the basis of gender.
Voter Registration in Kentucky
In the state of Kentucky, the following people are eligible to vote:
- Citizens who have resided in the state for at least 28 days before an election
- Citizens above the age of eighteen before the date of the next general election.
The following people are barred from voter registration in the state:
- Anyone convicted of a felony offense
- Anyone declared “mentally incompetent” by a court of law and have had their voting rights removed
- Anyone who claims to possess the right to vote outside the state of Kentucky
In case of a felony offender, the person can appeal to the Governor of the state to reinstate their voting and civil rights upon the completion of their incarceration and has been approved by the local parole officer.
For anyone looking to register to vote has to register themselves within the state of Kentucky. The following places and websites can be used for voter registration:
- County clerk’s office
- Driver’s License Office when applying for the renewal of the driving license
- Social service agency clients when applying for benefits such as K-TAP, SNAP, Medicaid, WIC and state-sponsored offices for people with disabilities.
- High-schools for students or staff members
- Mail-in forms from www.elect.ky.gov
- National voter registration forms from www.eac.gov/voter_resources
To be eligible to vote in the primary elections in Kentucky, individuals have to choose a political party affiliation. Kentucky has closed party primary elections, and one has to register as a Democrat or a Republican to vote in either party’s primary elections. However, all registered voters are eligible to vote in all general elections and non-partisan primary elections.
Voter Registration Update in Kentucky
To be eligible to vote, voters are required by law to update their voter registration in case of change of name or change in address. If one moves from one address to another within the county, the county clerk needs to be notified of the new address, or the driver's license needs to be updated. In Kentucky, one can also do this by going to the new voting precinct and update the voter registration address. In case someone moves from one county to another 28 days before the next general elections, one has to update the voter registration address with the new county clerk or renew the driver's license at least 29 days before the election. Failure to do so prohibits the individual from voting in either county. If someone changes their county with less than 29 days for the general elections, he or she can still vote in the precinct of the former county.