The 2018 Election Cycle is on the Horizon By: Jordan Kelch, Public Relations We’re nine months into a non-election year cycle, and yet the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office and Election Center have wasted no time gearing up for the new challenges and greater accomplishments awaiting them in the 2018 calendar year. Important things are already starting to happen. In fact, soon enough citizens interested in running for office will be eligible to officially throw their hat into the ring. That’s right, come November 8th of this year, candidate filing for the May Primary will begin. This phase of the process will run through the months of December and January, ending on Tuesday, January 30th. Not long after, public drawings for Primary ballot positions will be selected. In Jefferson County, this is still referred to as the “pill-pull”; candidates or their associates gather at the Board of Election Headquarters to pull pills at random. This practice decides whose name will appear first on the ballot, and then second, and so on and so forth. Ballot positions will be drawn on Thursday, February 1st. Eleven days later, on February 12th, the Secretary of State is to certify all candidate names to the 120 County Clerks in the Commonwealth. Traditionally this happens the second Monday after the candidate filing deadline. By April, all election preparation will be in full swing. Monday, April 2nd serves as the final day for ballot printing; all Primary ballots, whether absentee or regular, must be finalized as this is officially the fifty day mark before the election. Weeks later, the deadline for all voter registration hits on Monday, April 23rd. With that, the books are officially closed for the impending Primary. And then the election will be upon us. The 2018 Kentucky Primary will be held on Tuesday, May 22nd. Democrats and Republicans will have from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM to stop by the polls and cast their ballots. Because the Commonwealth holds closed primaries, both parties are restricted to voting for their candidates only. The victors on both sides then go forward to a party showdown at the November General. For Independents, the May Primary will be less eventful; they are only eligible to vote in non- partisan races. While election preparation is certainly buzzing across the state, there is additional excitement in Jefferson County as new voting equipment will make its debut that Tuesday. The JCCO and Election Center spent a great deal of 2017 reviewing potential options for replacement equipment (our current machines are close to twenty years old), and after various demonstrations, conversations and a bidding process, Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw decided upon the ES&S DS200 Precinct Scanner and Tabulator. “It’s been a long process, but I’m happy to announce the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office has purchased new voting equipment to be utilized as early as the May Election,” said Clerk Holsclaw. “The ES&S system is accurate, reliable and safe. It is also a large step forward from a technological standpoint.” Of course, new machines mean additional challenges including updated manuals, substantial alterations to Election Officer training and cross-training for Election personnel. All things considered, the Board of Elections and, specifically, the County Clerk seem pleased with the progress made this year. “There are always a lot of changes when you take on new technology, but the transition has been very smooth. We’re excited to roll out the new equipment for everyone to see and utilize. Now more than ever, citizens need to be confident in their community officials and in the voting process. We hope that these upgrades assist in that regard.” 6