Voter Registration in Kentucky
Qualifying applicants can register to vote in Kentucky online, in person or by mail. Having a drivers license or even a non-driver ID card issued by the DMV makes the voter registration process simple. Residents without DMV-issued IDs have fewer options about how to register to vote but can still enroll with relative ease. Potential voters native to Kentucky who are or will be living out of state, out of the country or who are in active duty military service can register to vote through their home state as long as they are not already actively voting through another state.
Once residents are on the polling roster, they will remain enrolled unless or until they request to be removed or move out of state. Voters who change their names, addresses or political party affiliations must promptly contact electoral authorities to change the voter registration information on their records to remain eligible to vote with full privileges.
Who can register to vote in Kentucky?
To apply for a Kentucky voter registration card, potential voters must be 18 years of age or be turning 18 on or by Election Day. They must be legal residents of the state and citizens of the United States. Applicants cannot be actively voting in any other state and cannot have been found “mentally incompetent” to vote by a court.
Election authorities will not allow residents to register to vote in Kentucky if they are convicted felons unless their rights have been reinstated via an executive pardon.
Kentucky Voter Registration Deadline
A series of Kentucky voter registration deadlines apply to residents seeking to enroll in their counties’ voter rosters. For example, the cutoff to register to vote in the primaries is in April. The last day to enroll to vote in the general election is in October. Additional deadlines apply to voters interested in voting in local votes and voters seeking absentee ballots or other special accommodations.
Voter registration is suspended twice a year around Election Days for nearly a month each time. As a result, it is extremely important that voters wondering, “Am I registered to vote in Kentucky?” do not delay in checking their status and registering if they have not yet done so. Failure to act promptly can result in voters facing delays or even being prevented from voting in some elections.
How to Register to Vote in Kentucky
Qualifying residents can register to vote in Kentucky in several ways, depending on their needs and preferences.
- Online. Residents who hold DMV-issued driver’s licenses or identification cards may use the state’s online voter registration system. They can later use the online system to verify and update their registrations, as needed.
- In person. Registrants can submit completed hard copy applications in person at their County Clerks’ Offices.
- By mail. Applicants can fill out hard copy applications and send them by mail to the State Board of Elections.
Residents applying with hard copy forms should not fill out the precinct code, precinct name, town, and “other code” sections of the applications. Those will be completed by the County Clerk’s Office upon receipt of the form.
All applicants will need to provide basic personal and contact information, including name, address, gender, date of birth, phone number and Social Security Number (SSN). Registrants may select a political party affiliation but are not required to do so.
Early Voting in Kentucky
Prospective voters investigating questions like, “When and where do I vote in Kentucky?” often wonder if they can submit their ballots early to avoid going to the polls on Election Day. Although early voting is permissible in many states, it is not allowed in Kentucky. Absentee ballots are the only exceptions allowed by law, as they must be mailed prior to Election Day to be received by authorities within the applicable deadlines.
Kentucky Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents
Active duty military service members, their families and most other legal residents who will be out of the state or country on Election Day may register to vote via absentee ballot. Applicants can register online or by mail using standard procedures. Specific deadlines may apply to military service members, depending on where they are stationed.
Kentucky Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Kentucky law allows voter registration card holders to vote by absentee ballot if they meet certain conditions. Voters may register to vote and acquire absentee ballots from their County Clerks’ Offices upon request if:
- They have mobility challenges related to age, disability or illness that make voting in person on Election Day difficult or impossible.
- They will be out of state or out of the county on Election Day (including military personnel, their families, students and “snowbirds”).
- They will be hospitalized or in the third trimester of pregnancy on Election Day.
- They are incarcerated but have not been convicted of a crime.
- Employment or election responsibilities prevent them from reaching the polls during open hours.
Residents who are registered to vote who meet one or more of the above criteria may submit their ballots by mail or in person in advance of Election Day.
Voter Registration Cards in Kentucky
Kentucky voter registration cards display essential voter information. They are issued to voters by their local electoral authorities when they successfully register to vote. However, it is not necessary for voters to carry their cards when going to the polls.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in Kentucky
Registered voters in Kentucky must change their voter registration address, name and political affiliation information promptly if they move, change their names or alter their party preferences. Inaccurate or outdated information on voter records can impede or prevent them from voting on Election Day.
It is crucial for voters to remember that voter rolls close for several weeks around elections. Voter registration change of address, name or affiliation requests should be submitted as soon as possible after a chance to prevent complications on Election Day.
How to Replace a Lost Kentucky Voter Registration Card
Voters can request new Kentucky voter registration cards from their local County Clerks’ Offices.