If you have plans to switch political parties in the hope of voting in the May primary, you’d better do it soon.
That’s because the deadline to change parties for voters, and people planning to run for political office, is Sunday, said Tonya Payne, a clerk at the Daviess County Clerk’s office.
A person can change his or her registration online or by mail, but it has to be changed, or the paperwork has to be postmarked, by Dec. 31, Payne said.
“If they change after Dec. 31, it makes them ineligible for the primary to vote,” Payne said. Likewise, a candidate who changes parties after Dec. 31 won’t be on the May ballot.
If a person wants to pick up paperwork to change parties in the Davies clerk’s office, there’s not much time left to do so. The clerk’s office will be open only Wednesday and Thursday this week.
Why is the last day of December the cutoff when the primary election isn’t until May? Blame state law, which makes it so. While the date may seem arbitrary, the effect has been very real on people who found themselves unable to vote.
“People get upset because they came in after the 31st to change their registration thinking they are going to vote in the primary,” said Daviess County Clerk David “Oz” Osborne.
People filing after the end of December are informed they can’t vote in the primary, but “people just don’t pay attention,” he said. Kentucky doesn’t have open primaries where people can vote for either party.
“A lot of people don’t realize the primary is strictly for the party for which they are registered,” Payne said.
While the deadline to file to for office is Jan. 30, people planning to change parties still have to have done it before December ends.
Changing your party affiliation is easy to do online, by visiting www.elect.ky.gov.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, [email protected], Twitter: @JamesMayse