FRANKFORT, KY -- Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams announced Friday the online portal to register for an absentee ballot for Kentucky's primary election June 23 is now open.
Adams says by law, voters can choose to vote by one of four ways: voting in-person, voting ahead of time at county clerk's office, filling out an absentee ballot online, and requesting ballot by mail and returning it to the clerk's office.
Adams says due to COVID-19, some options are better than others. He says the goal is to not overcrowd polling sites and lines would be much longer as people would be standing six feet apart.
Therefore, the state's Secretary of State's office created a portal to make it easy for Kentuckians to request an absentee ballot for the June 23 primary election.
Adams says the online portal is a place where voters can do more than simply requesting an absentee ballot. On the portal, you can check voter information to make sure it's accurate and check your voter registration.
Adams says they are not mailing out ballots to everyone automatically. He says his office is required by law to have an application filed to receive an absentee ballot by mail. He says his office will be paying for postage to mail the ballot back.
The online portal to request an absentee ballot for the primary election closes at June 15 at 11:59 p.m., which is a week away from the primary election. Adams says this ensures ballots are mailed out and can be mailed back in time for the vote to be counted on June 23.
The state is requesting everyone in Kentucky who is able to request an absentee ballot online do so. They are keeping certain polling places open the day of the primary election for those who may not be able to request a ballot online, such as those with disabilities or may have vision troubles. Those voters will have the options to still go to the polls and cast a ballot, but without the extra lines and crowds.
Josh Benton, deputy secretary in the Kentucky Education & Workforce Development Cabinet, gave an unemployment update during Beshear's daily briefing on Friday.
Benton announced Kentucky's April unemployment rate is at 15.4%. They are now having to process claims filed in March and April manually, as those left in those months have had issues processing automatically. Benton says there's about 14,000 claims left from March and 38,000 claims from April.
Benton says the office is adding more adjudicators on a daily basis to help process unemployment claims. The more experienced adjudicators are being assigned to the claims from March and April.
Benton also announed some new updates to website for both claimants and employers. There are new how-to videos posted for different things on the website, including how to file a claim and reset a PIN number.
The website now allows employers to submit return-to-work dates. Benton says they are trying to avoid fraud by awarding unemployment to those that have returned to work.
Also on the website is a new button for an email form asking questions, hoping this will be a more efficient process to get questions answers.
Benton says the unemployment office is treating Memorial Day as a Sunday, so people can still request payments and file a claim.
However, one change will be that starting Sunday, May 24, there will no more automatic benefit payments. Those that have filed an unemployment claim will have to request your bi-weekly payments every two weeks through the portal.
Benton encouraged everyone to update PIN numbers every 30 days to avoid identity theft. He also said if you're returning to work but at reduced hours, you will be able to qualify for reduced unemployment benefits.
Click here to visit Kentucky's unemployment website.
Beshear announced 141 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the state cumulative case total to 8,426. Five new deaths were also reported, bringing the state's COVID-19 death toll to 391.
3,069 people have recovered. 171,338 total tests have been performed.
In addition, Kentucky's 347 skilled nursing facilities will be splitting nearly $130 million dollars of federal funding from the CARES Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced today.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says each facility is eligible to receive up to $50,000. An additional $25,000 per bed will also be available for facilities that have six or more beds.
$11 billion dollars have been impacting various areas of Kentucky through the CARES, according to a statement from McConnell's office.