Kentucky Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated June 16, 2014
Military and Overseas voters should visit the Overseas Vote Foundation. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

Important Deadlines

  • Voter Registration Form: Postmarked 29 days before the election
  • Absentee Ballot Application: Received by the Tuesday before the Election
  • Voted Absentee Ballot: Received by 6:00 p.m. on election day

How to vote by absentee ballot

Register to vote

Recommended: Use our Voter Registration Tool. Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the address printed on the form.  

You can also use the Kentucky Voter Registration Form.  Mail your completed form to your County Clerk's office

Verify your voter registration

Verify your voter registration prior to applying for an absentee ballot.  This is especially important if you are a first time voter in Kentucky. 

Make sure you're eligible to vote by absentee ballot

You may vote by absentee ballot in Kentucky if you are:  

  • advanced in age, Disabled, or Ill;
  • military personnel or their dependent, or an overseas citizen;
  • a student who temporarily resides outside the county;
  • a voter who temporarily resides outside of Kentucky and who maintains eligibility to vote in Kentucky, such as a "snowbird";
  • incarcerated, but not yet convicted of a crime; or
  • employed outside of the county all hours the polling place is open.

If you change your place of residence to a different state while the registration books are closed in the new state, you can apply for a mail-in absentee ballot or vote on the absentee voting machine only in President/Vice President election.

You can apply for a medical emergency absentee ballot if a medical emergency occurs within 14 days before an election. The spouse of the voter can also apply for a paper absentee ballot.

Apply for your absentee ballot

Kentucky prepares a personalized absentee ballot application for every voter who wishes to vote absentee. Contact your County Clerk and ask them to mail you an absentee ballot application. (NOTE: the first request you must make is for the absentee ballot application, not the absentee ballot itself.) Your spouse, parents or children can also request an application on your behalf. 

The county will then mail you the application. Complete, sign, and return it to your County Clerk's office. Your County Clerk must receive your absentee ballot application by the 7th day before the election.

For Presidential elections: If you change your place of residence to a different state while the registration books are closed in the new state before a presidential election, you can apply for a mail-in absentee ballot or vote absentee on a machine in the clerks’s office for President and Vice President only.

Receive, complete and return your voted ballot

Your County Clerk will mail you an absentee ballot and a return envelope.  Complete the absentee ballot, sign the outer envelope where indicated, and mail the absentee ballot back to your County Clerk's Office.  Your absentee ballot must be received by 6pm on election day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to provide ID when I register to vote?

Not strictly, no.  But your identity needs to verified by an elections officer.  Kentucky requires that election officers confirm the identity of each voter by personal acquaintance or by some document, such as a driver’s license, social security card, credit card, or other identification card with a picture and a signature.  If you can't provide sufficient proof of ID when you register, or if there's a dispute about your qualification to vote, you must sign a written oath before your vote can be cast.

Do I need to provide ID when I vote by absentee ballot?

No.  Kentucky won't issue an absentee ballot to anyone whose identity can't be verified.  If you've received your absentee ballot, your identity has been verfied and you are clear to vote. 

I need an emergency absentee ballot.  What do I do? 

You can apply for a emergency absentee ballot if you experience a medical emergency during the 14 days before the election.  Your spouse can also apply for an emergency absentee ballot on your behalf.  Contact your Kentucky County Clerk's Office if you need an emergency absentee ballot.

Can I vote in person before the election?

Yes. Check out our Early Voting page for details.

Additional Information

State Election Website:
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines. 


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