Frankfort, KY -- Secretary of State Elaine Walker, the chief elections officer of the Commonwealth, is encouraging all registered voters to cast their ballots on Primary Election Day, May 17, 2011 and is encouraging citizens to prepare before doing so.
"Voting is an important right and responsibility. I highly encourage voters to research the candidates before they get ready to cast their vote," noted Walker. "It is also important that voters determine a time when they can vote and thus prepare appropriately. The polls close at 6:00 p.m. local time, and any voter in line to vote by that time will be allowed to cast a ballot."
Additionally, Walker reminded voters that no Kentuckian should be prevented from voting in the upcoming election due to their work schedule, voters can request leave prior to the day in which they will cast their vote. The Kentucky Constitution provides "that all employers shall allow employees, under reasonable regulations, at least four hours on election days, in which to cast their votes."
"It is my hope that every Kentuckian who is registered will exercise their right to vote on May 17th," stated Secretary Walker. "The Kentucky Constitution helps to ensure that every citizen has the opportunity to cast a ballot on Election Day regardless of their work schedule, so long as the employee requests leave in advance."
Employees need to request leave from their employer prior to the day in which they will cast their ballots to be eligible for this incentive. Kentucky law provides the employer discretion as to whether the employee will be compensated for that time and at what time the employee may vote. If an employee requests leave to vote and does not do so, state law deems that he or she may be subject to disciplinary action.
Kentuckians who will be working outside their county of residence on Election Day are eligible to vote by absentee ballot. Absentee voting on a voting machine is currently taking place in county clerks' offices until close of business on Monday, May 16, 2011.
When voters head to the polls on Election Day, they will also be governed by electioneering laws that prohibit electioneering within 300 feet of the polling location. Bumper stickers on cars of voters at a polling location are an exception to the electioneering prohibition. Cars may not be left near polling locations all day with the intent of advocating for a particular candidate.
Voters will have the opportunity to nominate candidates for a number of offices including the following:
• Governor & Lt. Governor (Republican primary only)
• Secretary of State
• Auditor of Public Accounts (Republican Primary only)
• Treasurer (Democratic Primary only)
• Commissioner of Agriculture
The Office of the Secretary of State and State Board of Elections have a number of online services which can help citizens prepare for the election. Voters can view and print sample ballots, determine their polling location, and find pertinent election information by visiting either agency's website. Walker encouraged citizens to visit the Voter Information Center to determine whether they are eligible to vote in this year's primary election and to determine if their polling location has changed.
"A little preparation can go a long way this election season. Hopefully voters will heed this advice so that the election will go as smoothly as possible," Walker concluded.
Citizens with general questions about the election are encouraged to visit the Office of the Secretary of State and State Board of Elections' Vote Kentucky! website at www.vote.ky.gov or contact their local county clerk.