It has not been a lucky year and now Friday the 13th arrives — the first one since March, which coincidently is about the time the pandemic arrived.

Before you climb back in bed and pull up the covers, consider one stroke of good fortune that this bizarre year has given us: A system for early voting. Hardin Countians embraced the process employed by Hardin County Clerk Debbie Donnelly and her staff.

The system was made possible by COVID emergency protocols put in place by Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams.

It basically allowed local voters to pick their Election Day. Instead of being confined to a 12-hour window on a single day, the polls were open 144 hours — a 12-fold increase.

It’s hard to argue with that type of service improvement, particularly when it works smoothly and efficiently. The lines looked long at the county government building, in part because of social distancing, but moved quickly. Most voters were served within 15 minutes.

Not to mention the fact, each voter was handed a free pen and someone monitoring the machines passed out “I Voted” stickers at the door.

With 26,224 voting early, that took a lot of pressure off the four election day voting centers. While not as convenient as the traditional neighborhood precinct system, the centers provided ample parking and literally could accommodate dozens of voters simultaneously.

Another service improvement was the fact the local Board of Elections needs far fewer election day monitors and precinct workers. That means better trained and more qualified people on hand to see that the process run properly. Hardin County actually was able to station IT experts familiar with the equipment at each location to provide immediate troubleshooting in the event of an issue.

While there still might be questions about security and reliability of the mail-in absentee ballots, this extended voting operation is a no-brainer.

It needs to be adopted in some form by the General Assembly in time for the 2022 elections.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

(1) comment

LaurieMacKellar

I totally agree. My voting experience was wonderful, with a very short wait time (I voted a few days after early voting opened.) My identity was verified. There were multiple stations, allowing for distancing. There was no wait time to insert the ballot, and the official manning that station gave clear instructions while maintaining distance. It was very smooth and efficient. I would like to thank Debbie Donnelly and anyone who was involved in the planning and implementation process.

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