OPINION: Early voting shouldn’t end with the pandemic

COVID-19 threw American society for a loop this year. We figured out how to work from home, perform tasks virtually, and get creative in order to protect ourselves and others from a virus that has shown to be deadly for the most vulnerable among us.

COVID-19 also forced us into a new way to hold elections here in Kentucky, and quite honestly, it’s a push we have needed in this state for quite some time.

Governor Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams, one a Democrat and one a Republican, came together in a way that was refreshing to create a plan to allow people to vote through absentee ballots via mail and early voting in-person as a means to lessen the crowds gathering on Election Day.

Could you believe that it’s actually possible for politicians of different parties with different ideologies to work together in a way that benefits the people they serve? That’s what America should be about.

Before the pandemic, Kentucky was one of six states in the United States that did not have any form of early voting. The vast majority of states in the U.S. provide early voting options for their citizens.

And you know what? This system is working… and working really well, which makes it even more impressive since the state essentially had no history of allowing early voting.

Look around at states that are wrapped up in lawsuits involving elections and having problems. Kentucky’s election is moving along smoothly thus far with what is expected to be a very high turnout, possibly even record-breaking.

That high turnout is exactly why early voting should continue in the state of Kentucky, even when we make it to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic (whenever that may be).

Many of you took advantage of the ability to vote early, either through the absentee ballots or through voting in-person at one of the county’s three voting super centers.

I did so myself, and I think many of you would agree that it is much more convenient than trying to carve out time on Election Day to rush to the polls where you don’t know what line may await.

There are many hard-working people in our community who work Monday-Friday and don’t get off work until 5 p.m. or a little after. Asking them to get off work and try to rush to the polls by 6 p.m. on Election Day is a major inconvenience. Giving people this extra time meets the needs of different types of people in the community, and that’s ultimately what the voting process should do.

Secretary of State Adams should really give a lot of thought into allowing our elections in Kentucky to continue like this in the future. Obviously things can be tweaked and likely should be. Maybe we don’t need three weeks of early voting. I think 10-14 days is a reasonable amount of time, so long as it includes Saturdays. Maybe more voting super centers are needed. Those details can be worked out as needed.

When Adams ran for office, he ran with the promise of making voting easier and cheating harder. Continuing to allow people the opportunity to vote early is a way he can make good on that promise for the people he serves.

About Zac Oakes 302 Articles
Zac Oakes is the News Director and Digital Content Contributor for LakerCountry.com and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.