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Legislative panel briefed on general election costs

The Poll Worker Volunteer Portal is now available at www.govoteky.com. The portal passes an application on to the volunteer’s county clerk, who then will contact the volunteer.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s top election official is estimating $5.42 million in cost overruns associated with running November’s general election.

“I know that is a lot of money, especially right now, but I believe that is a bargain for a successful presidential election held during a pandemic,” Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams said while testifying before today’s meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations & Revenue.

Adams said the overruns would have been greater without $4.5 million in federal relief aid leftover from May’s primary.

Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion (right), asks questions to Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams.

Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, asked how the estimated overruns compare to prior presidential elections. Adams said it historically costs Kentucky $10 million to run an election. He said the extra expenses associated with the upcoming election range from $4 million to cover postage for more absentee ballots to $500,000 in miscellaneous costs, including the purchase of 1.2 million ink pens for one-time voter use.

Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, asked when results of the general election in Kentucky would be released. Adams forecasted Kentucky would have 75 percent to 80 percent of the votes counted on election night. He added that results would come in quicker than during the primaries because of more in-person voting and additional processes to speed up the counting of absentee votes.

“We are not going to have final results election night,” Adams said. “They are going to be unofficial … but it will be enough for us to project some outcomes and give some finality to the candidates and voters.”

Rep. Myron Dossett, R-Pembroke, highlighted a mobile voting precinct in Hopkins County as a creative way clerks are engaging voters. Adams added other clerks plan to offer drive-through voting.

Sen. Michael J. Nemes, R-Shepherdsville, asked when voters will be notified where they can vote. Adams said he is still waiting for some of the larger counties to submit plans, but his goal is to have all voter locations finalized by Oct. 1.

McDaniel praised Adams’ efforts in recruiting younger poll workers. He said the average age of poll workers in Kenton County, where he lives, has traditionally been over 75.

“Thank you for acknowledging our success at getting younger poll workers,” Adams said. “I testified to the Interim Joint Committee on State Government last November … that we had a poll worker crisis in our state. This is not a Kentucky-unique problem or a pandemic-unique problem.”