Lawmaker wants early voting and 16-year-olds to be eligible

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) –  Early voting and lowering the voting age are the topics of two pieces of legislation that will be filed for the 2019 General Assembly.

State Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, announced the proposals during a Monday press conference in Frankfort.

Thomas noted he had to wait an hour and a half in line to vote in the November General Election.  “That did not bother me at all, and I was pleased to see the long lines,” he said. “But I don’t think that should be commonplace going forward that people should have to wait in line to vote.”

His answer is no-excuse early voting: “My bill would allow that three Saturdays before the election, people could go to their County Clerk’s office and vote, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.”

Thomas says it reduce the lines to vote on election day.

“More importantly, it would make it more convenient for people who have young children, people who have lengthy work schedules that require them to get up early in the morning and not get home until late at night,” he told reporters.

He says this will involve some additional costs to County Clerks. “Whatever that cost is, I would say the state ought to appropriate it and pay it, because we want people to exercise their choice.”

A second bill proposed by Thomas would lower the voting age in Kentucky from 18 to 16.

“The bill would allow 16-year-olds to vote in all local elections,” he said.  “That would include school board, any election involving city or county offices, including mayor, county judge-executive, county and city commissioners, county attorney, PVA, and so forth.”

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