By Chad Hobbs
Meade County Clerk Judy Jordan’s office provides many vital roles for citizens of this county. As with most government offices, the clerk’s office was closed to the general public due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Though they have closed to walk-in traffic, the majority of their services can still be utilized in various ways. Staff is still present to answer phone calls, emails, and regular mail inquiries.
For citizens needing to renew their registrations for vehicles, boats, etc., there are several different options available. The court house has a drop box in the lobby for the Clerk’s office where renewals can be left. Staff will process them and mail the registration to the individual. Another option is to renew over the phone with a debit/credit card. This option does require a three percent fee to the card, however. The renewal may also be mailed to the office with a check or money order included. A final option is to go to www.drive.ky.gov and renew online. The new registration will be mailed out as soon as it is processed.
Anyone needing to obtain a marriage license should call the office to set up an appointment. Passports are not being handled at the current time. Vehicle transfers are also currently suspended, as well. Anyone needing documents recorded can mail those in, and they will be processed accordingly. Notary oath and bonding are not taking place currently either.
If you need to register or update your address to vote in the upcoming primary and general elections this year, the website, www.govoteky.com, will allow for registrations to be submitted until April 20 at 4 p.m. Registrations that are mailed must be postmarked no later than April 20. Absentee voters should call the Clerk’s office for an application.
Kentucky’s primary election has been pushed back from May 19 to June 23 due to the corona virus pandemic the country is experiencing. Jordan’s office is working diligently to have everything in place for voting to take place.
Earlier this month Jordan appeared before the Fiscal Court at their monthly meeting. After turning over $104,465.59 in excess fees from her office, she addressed the Court on the county’s need for new voting machines.
“Our voting machines are at the end of their life cycle. They are obsolete,” said Jordan, the chair of the county’s Board of Elections. “They are no longer making these, so it’s very hard to even get parts.”
Sheriff Phillip Wimpee, also a member of the Board of Elections, joined Jordan in presenting the need for new machines. They both spoke of the countless issues that come up every election with the machines due to their age. They spoke of having to duct tape cords to walls just to keep them in place in order for some of the machines to stay powered up and having to call in a technician to work on them in the middle of an election. This not only causes delays at the booths, but the sheriff has to escort the technician to the particular site to ensure everything is done in a way not to compromise the vote counts, preventing the sheriff from attending to more pressing issues that his job entails.
Jordan said an estimate had been acquired last July which put the cost of the new machines around $213,000. They will be all paper ballots instead of having some paper and some electronic as the county currently has. Another factor that was discussed was the fact that the new climate controlled storage facility for the Clerk that has been approved to be built should help extend the life of the new machines compared with how the machines have previously been stored.