Who can register to vote? To register you must:
- be a U.S. Citizen and a Kentucky resident for at least 28 days before the election.
- be at least 18 years old by the date of the next general election
Only 17? If you will be 18 by the November general election, you are eligible to vote in the prior May primary election.
- not be a convicted felon or, if convicted of a felony offense, you must have had your civil rights restored. Contact your local parole office to obtain an application for Restoration of Civil Rights
- not have been judged "mentally incompetent" in a court of law
- not claim the right to vote anywhere outside Kentucky
Where do I register to vote? You must have completed a voter registration card and be registered at least 30 days prior to an election through the following sources:
- County Clerk's office (in person or online)
- Driver's License office, if you are applying for or renewing your driver's license
- K-TAP, Food Stamp, Medicaid, WIC, and state funded offices serving those with disabilities, if you are a client of these Public Assistance offices
- Armed Forces Recruitment offices, if you are a prospective member of the armed forces
- High Schools, if you are a student or staff member
- Kentucky Mail-in voter registration form
- Federal Mail-in voter registration form
Must I choose a political party when I register?
Kentucky allows registration for three political distinctions: Democratic Party, Republican Party and Other. Kentucky has closed party primary elections. You must register as a Democrat or Republican to vote in that party's May primary election. If you register as "Other", you cannot vote in the Democrat or Republican party primaries, but may vote in nonpartisan, city and judicial primaries. All eligible voters can vote in the November general election.
May I change my political party affiliation?
You may change your political party affiliation at any time on or before December 31 to remain eligible to vote in the following primary election. You simply need to fill out a new voter registration card and return it to your county clerk by the December 31 deadline.
What if I move?
To be eligible to vote refer to the appropriate situation below:
- You move within the county: Notify the County Clerk of your new address or update your driver's license. The county clerk will tell you the location of your new voting precinct. If you do not do this before election day, you must go to the voting precinct of your new address to vote and update your voter registration address.
- You move outside the county more than 28 days before election day: Update your voter registration address with the new county clerk or renew your driver's license in the new county at least 28 days before the election. If you do not notify the county clerk in either your old county or your new county of residence 28 days prior to an election, you are not eligible to vote in either county.
- You move outside the county less than 28 days before the election: You may vote in your previous county of residence for this election, but must update your address.
- You temporarily reside outside of Kentucky, but are eligible to vote in Kentucky: Please see section regarding absentee ballots.
Is it necessary for me to notify the County Clerk when I change my name?
Yes, it is very important that the County Clerk has the most up to date information on you as possible. There are two ways for you to update your voter registration when you change your name and they are the following:
- renew or update your driver's license, or
- notify the County Clerk online, by writing or stopping in their office.
How do I find out who the candidates are and the offices they are seeking?
A sample ballot will be published by the County Clerk in the local newspaper at least 7 days before election day. You may also call the County Clerk's office and inquire about the elections to be held in your county. The local or state Republican or Democrat party headquarters will also be able to supply you with this information.
Find out more about becoming a candidate here
How do I know where to vote on election day?
You will receive a notice in the mail from the County Clerk with your precinct name and voting location address. The polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., local time. All those in line by 6 p.m. will be able to vote. If you have any questions concerning where to vote, call your County Clerk.
Find out where you vote here
How do I operate the voting machine?
You may request instructions on how to use the voting machine from the precinct election officials assigned to your precinct on election day. You may also request a sample ballot to review while waiting to vote.
What if I have to work on election day?
Employees wishing to vote in general elections are allowed up to 4 hours of voting leave. To be eligible, an employee must be registered to vote in the county holding the election, be scheduled to work on election day, and notify their immediate supervisor prior to receiving leave. Employees who are authorized to work in lieu of taking voting leave will receive four hours of compensatory leave.
What if I have special needs at the polls?
People who require voting assistance due to physical disability, blindness or an inability to read English may request voting assistance at the polls on election day. Physical disability and blindness are the only two reasons a voter may apply to the County Board of Elections for permanent voting assistance. A person may receive assistance from someone of their choice or the two election officers at the polls. A person may not be assisted by their employer, his/her agent, a union officer or agent of that voter's union.
Your Voice: Your Vote Brochure by the Kentucky Protection & Advocacy
What if I can't get to the polls on election day? Apply for an absentee ballot by calling the County Clerk's office, or in person.
If you meet any of these qualifications you may request a paper absentee ballot be mailed to you:
- Due to advanced age, disability, illness or medical emergency
- You are a member of the Armed Forces or the dependent of a member of the Armed forces (Obtain the online Federal Post Card Application FPCA form.)
- You temporarily reside overseas but are still eligible to vote in Kentucky
- You are a student attending school outside the county of your voter registration
- You temporarily live outside the state but are still eligible to vote in Kentucky
- You are incarcerated in jail and have been charged but not convicted of a felony
- You work outside the county and are unable to either vote early in the county clerk's office or in your polling place on election day
You may request the absentee ballot at anytime during the year, however the ballots are not printed until 50 days prior to the election. If you requested an absentee ballot more than 50 days prior to the election, it will be mailed to you after the ballots are printed. Since the County Clerk must mail the application, receive a signed application before mailing out your absentee ballot, then receive the completed ballot in the mail prior to the 6PM deadline on election day, we strongly recommend requesting your ballot early!
The deadline for applying for a paper absentee ballot is 7 days before an election. However, you may apply for a medical emergency absentee ballot up to the day of the election. You may request the absentee ballot application from your County Clerk's office in person, by mail, by phone or by fax.
If you do not qualify for a paper absentee ballot, you may vote an absentee ballot in person on a voting machine in the County Clerk's office 12 or more days before the election if you meet one of the following conditions:
- You will be out of the county on election day
- Advanced in age, disabled, or ill
- You are a pregnant woman in your third trimester
- You are a member of the County Board of Elections, alternate precinct officer or appointed to a precinct other than that in which you are registered.
If you are casting an in-person absentee ballot at the County Clerk's office, you may fill out the application at the time that you go to the office to vote, eliminating the need for multiple trips. Be sure to bring an ID with you for in-person absentee voting.
The County Clerk is responsible for all aspects of the electoral process. This includes preparing ballot and voting machines, tabulating votes, certifying winners and keeping a permanent record of the results of all elections. A listing of all County Clerks is available on the Kentucky Secretary of State's website.