Election negotiations underway between governor and secretary of state

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — The governor’s office is responding to the secretary of state’s new plan for a November election once again in the midst of a pandemic.

But we can’t see that plan yet – the secretary saying he wants the governor to look at it first.

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A bipartisan plan – that’s what Secretary of State Michael Adams calls his proposal.

“A lot of thought has gone into it, this is not just what I think we ought to do,” says the secretary.

People across the country hailed Kentucky’s approach to the summer primary, especially absentee voting for all.

It’s something the governor wants again. Adams says sure, we can have 800,000 vote absentee as in June but not the two million or more expected in November.

“Our system will crash, we’re not designed for that,” says Adams. “What the law says is there is a very limited class of people that can vote absentee, it’s usually 2% of voters and that’s the default.”

Instead, Adams says there will be more excuses allowed so more people can stay safe at home and vote absentee based on age or health.

People also want more polling locations. In June, the state’s biggest counties only had one or two.

Adams says he’s created an online portal to make easier the always difficult task of recruiting the 15,000 poll workers needed.

He knows he can’t make everyone happy but he thinks this will satisfy about 80%.

The governor and the secretary had their first conversation Wednesday, since Adams submitted the proposal.

During Beshear’s daily briefing Wednesday he talked about their meeting.

“It was very productive.. we are very close to an agreement. I think within 48 hours would be right,” says Governor Beshear. “I think we have the same ultimate goals but I want to be able to hash them out. I think he is acting in good faith and I think I am.”

When asked particularly about excuses vs. no excuses for absentee ballots, he says “We are getting to a productive point on that.”

Not having seen the proposal yet, itself the non-partisan League of Women Voters of Kentucky says the election most open to all will include more time to vote.

“And then trying to expand the absentee but maybe not just making it wide open for everyone,” says President Fran Wagner.

Eventually the group wants to see a full vote by mail system but knows it can’t happen overnight.

The secretary says election plans could be announced this week. By law both he and the governor have to agree on the form the election will take.

The secretary’s proposal would also have mail in ballots in by 6 p.m. Election Day so results could be announced that night.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.