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How to Vote in Kentucky’s 2024 Elections

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Important dates and election information

Key dates

  • Presidential primary: Tuesday, May 21
  • General election: Tuesday, Nov. 5
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

Voting at a glance

  • 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 voting: All registered voters can vote early and in person from Thursday, May 16, to Saturday, May 18, for the primary.
  • Voting at the polls: Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, for the primary. Bring a photo ID. You can vote without one, but it requires additional paperwork. If you are in line when the polls close, you will be allowed to vote.

Voting in Kentucky

What to know about recent changes

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.

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

Voter registration

Register by mail, in person or online.

  • In person: Visit your county clerk’s office during business hours. Or you can register when applying for or renewing your driver’s license, or when visiting some of Kentucky’s social service agencies.

The State Board of Elections purged inactive voters from the voter rolls in February 2023. To check your registration status, sign in to the state’s voter information center.

Registering to vote on Election Day

Kentucky does not have same-day voter registration.

Primary voting and party affiliation

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

Ways to vote

Requesting an absentee ballot 

Only Kentucky voters who meet certain criteria can request an absentee ballot. For example, if you are temporarily out of state or unable to vote in person because of work, age, disability or illness, you may qualify. Requests must be submitted by Tuesday, May 7.

  • Online: Visit the state’s absentee request portal between Saturday, April 6, and Tuesday, May 7, to request an absentee ballot.

Returning your absentee ballot

Completed absentee ballots must be received by your county clerk by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, for the primary. To return your ballot:

  • By mail: Use proper postage and send to your county clerk’s office with enough time that it is received by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21.
  • Drop box: Drop box locations are provided with the polling locations for your county.

Track the status of your absentee ballot through the voter information portal at govote.ky.gov.

Voting in person before Election Day

Kentucky offers six days of excused in-person absentee voting to registered voters who meet certain criteria such as being in the military and out of the country, in addition to the three days of early voting available during the no-excuse absentee voting period. For the primary, excused in-person voting will be held Wednesday, May 8, through Friday, May 10, and Monday, May 13, through Wednesday, May 15. Contact your county clerk’s office for hours and locations.

Early voting for all registered voters, which is also called in-person no-excuse absentee voting, will be held Thursday, May 16, through Saturday, May 18. Contact your county clerk’s office for hours and locations.

Voting at the polls on Election Day

Find your polling location on the State Board of Elections website. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21. If you are in line before the polls close, you will be allowed to vote.

Voter ID requirements on Election Day 

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 bring a photo ID, you can show another acceptable form of ID and fill out additional paperwork at the polls to vote. Watch this video to learn more.

Voting with a disability

You can bring anyone to the polls to help you vote as long as that person is not your employer or from your union.

If you have a disability that prevents you from marking a paper ballot, you can request an accessible absentee ballot through the state's accessible absentee portal. Contact your county clerk for more information.

More information about candidates 

Key races:

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. House: six seats
  • State House: 100 seats
  • State Senate: 19 seats

Sample ballots will be available at govote.ky.gov.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Jan. 30, 2024, with new information about voting in the 2024 presidential primary.

Maura Kelly Lannan is a writer, editor and producer for AARP who covers federal and state policy. She has worked as a reporter for the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and the Waterbury, Connecticut Republican-American. She also has written for Bloomberg Government, The Boston Globe and other publications. 

Also of Interest:

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