Gov. Andy Beshear directed his administration to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep voters and poll workers safe during Kentucky’s primaries next Tuesday.
The governor’s office is providing 5,000 masks, 4,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 5,800 face shields and 20,000 gloves for the June 23 election, Beshear said in a statement issued June 17. The PPE will be distributed to all 120 counties.
“I encourage every Kentuckian to vote, which is their duty as an American, but we must take every precaution available to protect voters and poll workers exercising that fundamental right,” Beshear said. “We continue to take action to allow people to safely exercise their right to vote on Tuesday, including ensuring our poll workers have this protective gear.”
The Kentucky Board of Elections asked Gov. Beshear to help provide PPE for the primary elections. Gov. Beshear, the Board of Elections and Secretary of State Michael Adams previously reached an agreement to allow Kentuckians to vote via absentee ballot ahead of the election to protect voters from COVID-19, but there will be in-person voting on Tuesday.
“Gov. Beshear has been a reliable partner in ensuring the success and safety of this election,” said Secretary Adams. “Our election officials, poll workers and voters across the state will benefit from his leadership in procuring and providing this critically needed PPE.”
“The state Board of Elections is incredibly grateful for the leadership and support offered by the governor and his staff during this election cycle,” said Jared Dearing, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We are specifically grateful for the supply of much needed personal protective equipment that will keep county clerks, their deputies, poll workers and voters safe during the June 23 primary election.”
At the recommendation of Adjutant Gen. Hal Lamberton, Gov. Beshear also has authorized plainclothes Kentucky National Guardsmen to assist at polling sites. County clerks, some of whom have indicated a need for additional assistance, can request the assistance of guardsmen.
“Our poll workers have traditionally been the backbone of our election system, but many of them fall in the population vulnerable to COVID-19, so we want them to take every step necessary to limit their exposure while allowing Kentuckians who haven’t yet voted to go to the polls,” Beshear said.