Absentee voting begins for November election

SHELLEY BYRNE/The Mayfield Messenger

Graves County Sheriff's Capt. Jeremy Prince votes via absentee ballot Tuesday at the Graves County Clerk's Office. Prince is serving on the Graves County Board of Elections as Sheriff Jon Hayden's designee, so he is unable to vote on Election Day.

Absentee voting has begun by mail and in person at the Graves County Clerk's Office for those unable to vote on Election Day Nov. 5.

County clerk Kim Gills, election board member Tommy Holloway and the sheriff's board designee, Capt. Jeremy Prince, opened the machine for absentee voting beginning Monday. As per KRS 117.035(2)(b), the sheriff must choose a designee to serve on the election board when he is running for election instead of serving on the board himself.

The county clerk's office is open for absentee voting during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays and 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays until Monday, Nov. 4.

"If they're disabled and unable to get out, they can call and have us send an absentee application," Gills said of the process of getting an absentee ballot by mail.

After completing the application and mailing it back in, the clerk's office then sends a ballot by mail. Because of the time involved with mailing documents, Gills suggested mail-in applications be requested as soon as possible by calling her office at 270-247-1676.

To qualify for an absentee ballot in Kentucky, voters must indicate the reason for the ballot request on an application. Reasons include limitations due to age, disability or illness, being outside the county on Election Day, being a member of the Armed Forces or dependent of a member out of the county on Election Day, temporarily residing outside the county, scheduled procedure requiring hospitalization on Election Day, being a precinct election officer serving in a precinct other than where he or she is registered on Election Day, serving as a member or staff of the county board of elections or county clerk on Election Day or being a woman in the last trimester of her pregnancy on Election Day.

No polling places within Graves County will change for this election, Gills said. Seven different ballot faces are being printed, with the offices people vote for varying depending on their precinct. Although all ballots will include elections for state officers and one nonpartisan judicial race for Kentucky Supreme Court, only people within the city may vote for the city council election, and only people residing in the Mayfield Independent or Graves County school districts may vote in those elections.

Although both justice of the peace for the first and third magisterial districts and constable for the third magisterial district appear on the ballots, no candidates have filed, Gills said. No candidates have registered as write-in candidates either, although the deadline to do so is not until Oct. 25.

"It's got to go on the ballot by law," Gills said of the positions, but added that it is common for no one to file for those positions.

The only contested races locally are for sheriff and Mayfield City Council.

Interim sheriff Jon Hayden is the Democratic sheriff's candidate. His challenger is Republican Jason Clark.

For Mayfield City Council, four people are vying to fill the unexpired term of the late Wayne Potts. They are Darrick Herndon, Robert Brandon Henson, Cindy Price and Johnny Jackson.

For the Graves County Board of Education, appointed board member Kenneth House is the only candidate, filling the unexpired term of Kevin Wiggins, who resigned.

No candidates will appear on the ballot for Mayfield Independent Schools, although the appointed board member, Joe Green, has filed as a write-in candidate to fill the unexpired term of Matt Monroe, who resigned.

State offices on the ballot are governor, secretary of state, attorney general, auditor of public accounts, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture. Voters will also choose either Christopher Shea Nickell or Whitney H. Westerfield for Kentucky Supreme Court justice for the first district, filling the unexpired term of retired Justice Bill Cunningham.