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How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in Kentucky

En español | Kentucky allows all registered voters to cast their ballots early during a three-day early voting window, but an excuse is needed to vote by mail.

The 2022 midterms decided races for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the state’s General Assembly and several state high courts. Kentuckians will cast ballots for governor and lieutenant governor in 2023.

Essential info:

  • Absentee voting: This option is available only to registered voters who meet certain criteria, including residents temporarily living out of state or voters who are unable to vote in person because of an illness or disability.
  • Early in-person voting: All registered voters can vote early and in person on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before elections.
  • Voting at the polls: You’ll be asked to show a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, at the polling place. You can still vote without one, but it requires additional paperwork.

Have there been any recent changes to voting in Kentucky?

A 2022 law added six days of early in-person voting for those with an eligible excuse to vote absentee. This is in addition to the three days of early voting offered to all registered voters under a 2021 law.

A new redistricting plan has changed certain boundaries of some state legislative and U.S. congressional districts and may affect which candidates appear on your ballot. 

Kentucky Residents Cast Ballots For 2020 U.S. Presidential Election
A woman casts a ballot at a polling place in Louisville.
Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

How do I register to vote?

Register online, by mail or in person:

  • In person: Visit your county clerk’s office. Or you can register when applying for or renewing your driver’s license or when visiting one of Kentucky’s social service agencies, such as agencies serving those with disabilities or the Department for Community Based Services.

To check your current registration status, sign in to the state’s voter information center.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote in the primaries?

Yes. You must register as a Democrat or Republican to vote in either party’s primaries. If you do not register as a Democrat or Republican, you can still vote in nonpartisan races.

How can I get a mail-in or absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

Only Kentucky voters who meet certain criteria can request a mail-in absentee ballot. If you are temporarily out of state or unable to vote in person due to work, age, disability or illness, or if you're serving as an election worker, you may qualify. You can get a request form:

Mail your completed ballot, with proper postage, to your county clerk’s office, or deposit it in a secure drop box. Drop box locations are provided with the polling locations for your county. Completed absentee ballots must be received by your county clerk by the close of polls on Election Day.

Can I track my absentee ballot?

Yes, the status of your absentee ballot can be tracked through the voter information portal at govote.ky.gov.

Can I vote early in person if I qualified for a mail-in absentee ballot?

Yes. Kentucky offers six days of excused in-person absentee voting in addition to the three days of early voting available to all registered voters. Contact your county clerk’s office for details about when and where to vote.

Can I vote early in person if I didn't qualify for an absentee ballot?

Yes, early voting for all registered voters – also known as in-person no-excuse absentee voting – is available the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before elections. Check the State Board of Elections website or contact your county clerk’s office for more information.

What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day?

Find your polling location on the State Board of Elections website. Check with your county clerk’s office to confirm voting hours. If you were in line before the polls closed, you’ll still be allowed to vote.

Do I need identification to vote?

A photo ID that includes your name is required. Acceptable forms of identification include a Kentucky driver’s license, U.S. passport or other photo ID issued by the federal, state or local government, the military, or a school such as a college or university.

If you don't have a photo ID, you can fill out additional paperwork and show another acceptable form of ID at the polls to vote. You can also have an election officer attest to your identity. Watch this video to learn more.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Nov. 16, 2022, with information about absentee ballots. The guide was first published on Aug. 18, 2020.

Also of Interest:

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