En español | Kentucky’s May 17 primaries will determine which candidates appear on November’s general election ballot for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the state’s General Assembly and several state high courts. Note that voting protocols may shift if the General Assembly enacts changes during the 2022 legislative session.
- Absentee voting is available, but 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 is available to all registered voters on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before the primary and general election days.
- The state’s primary election is Tuesday, May 17; the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. On both dates, polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
How do I register to vote?
- Online: Via the state’s online voter registration portal.
- By mail: Print out a copy of the registration application and submit it to your county clerk’s office (the quicker option) or the State Board of Elections, which will then forward your application to your county clerk’s office.
- 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.
The registration deadline is 4 p.m. on Monday, April 18, for the primary and 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10, for the general election.
To check your current registration status, sign in to the state’s voter information center.
Does my party affiliation matter when I vote?
It does during the primary election. When you register to vote, you can select one of three party affiliations: Democratic, Republican or other. When voting in a partisan primary, those affiliated with a political party can only vote using their party’s ballot. Anyone registered as “other” can cast votes only in nonpartisan races — such as those for judicial seats or nonpartisan city offices — during the primary election. In the general election, you can vote for any candidate of your choice, regardless of party affiliation.
The deadline to change your party affiliation so you can vote in a party’s primary is Dec. 31. To change your party affiliation, update your voter registration through the State Board of Elections website at govote.ky.gov or fill out a new voter registration card and file it with your county clerk’s office by mail or in person.
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, including voters who are temporarily out of state or unable to vote in person due to work, age, disability or illness, or students temporarily living outside their county of residence. You can get a request form:
- Online: Via the state’s voter information portal, starting 45 days before the primary and the general election, so April 2 for the primary and Sept. 24 for the general.
- By phone: Call your county clerk’s office.
- In person: Visit your county clerk’s office.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 14 days before an election, which would mean May 3 for the primary and Oct. 25 for the general. But if you’re in the military or living overseas, the deadline is seven days prior to an election, which would mean May 10 for the primary and Nov. 1 for the general.
Mail your completed ballot to your county clerk’s office or drop it in a secure drop box. Drop box locations will be updated closer to the election dates. Completed absentee ballots must be received by your county clerk by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, for the primary and by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, for the general election.
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 in person before Election Day?
Yes, early voting, also referred to as in-person absentee voting, will be available to all registered voters on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before each election. The State Board of Elections website will list polling location information, including in-person absentee locations and hours. Or contact your county clerk’s office to see when and where you can cast your ballot before Election Day.
When is Election Day? When are polls open?
The state’s primary election is Tuesday, May 17; the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you’re in line by 6 p.m., you’ll be allowed to vote. Find your polling location on the State Board of Elections website. Or contact your county clerk’s office for polling site details.
Do I need identification to vote?
A photo ID, including the name of the voter, is required. Acceptable forms of identification include your driver’s license, passport or other photo IDs issued by:
- The United States or the Commonwealth of Kentucky
- The U.S. Department of Defense, a branch of the uniformed services, the Merchant Marine or the Kentucky National Guard
- A public or private college, university or postgraduate technical or profession school located in the U.S.
- Any city, county, urban county, charter county or consolidated local government in the state
What races are on the ballot in 2022?
- U.S. Senate: 1 seat
- U.S. House: all 6 seats
- State Senate: 19 out of 38 seats
- State House: all 100 seats
- State Supreme Court: 4 seats (Districts 1, 2, 4, 6)
- State intermediate appellate court: 14 seats
- Ballot measures: up to 4 constitutional amendments
- Mayors and city councils: local municipalities, including Louisville and Lexington
For details and sample ballots, reach out to your county clerk’s office.
Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Nov. 4 with information about how to vote in 2022. The guide was first published on Aug. 18, 2020. Voting rules, procedures and candidates may change before Election Day. We’ll keep this guide updated, so bookmark this page and check back.