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The convention center was the only polling place in Louisville on primary day, but complaints were limited.

Suit wants Kentucky to keep mail voting rules eased but delay ID law

When it comes to elections during the pandemic, Kentucky has stood apart in two ways. It instituted one of the nation's most restrictive voter identification laws just as the coronavirus was shutting government offices that issue ID cards, but its leaders also cut an unusual bipartisan deal resulting in one of the smoothest vote-by-mail primaries so far.

A civil rights group has now sued to make the state abandon that first move, but stick with the second, at least through the November election.

Filed Tuesday in state court, the lawsuit comes early in what's likely to become a flood of litigation to make voting for president easy and safe this fall. While most states have made accommodations for their primaries, they have not done so for the general election.

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Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Exposition Center was the only polling place in Louisville on Tuesday.

Voting rights groups watch warily as Kentucky votes pretty easily

Kentucky was poised to join the roster of states with calamitous primaries after deciding to shutter 95 percent of its in-person polling locations Tuesday. With only four hours until the polls close, though, there is little visible downside to that aggressive response to favor mail-in-voting because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kentuckians who didn't receive absentee ballots in time or otherwise decided to vote in person braced for long lines and confusion at the fewer than 200 available locations. But even in the state's biggest population centers — Louisville and Lexington, each of which opened just one place to vote — waiting times were reported as manageable.

And there were minimal complaints about stressed equipment or overwhelmed poll workers, the other problems that sullied Georgia's primary two weeks ago and raised nationwide alarm bells about pandemonium in November.

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Kentucky primary

Kentucky holds its state and presidential primaries (postponed from May 19).

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Voters in Louisville last November -- not at the convention center that, for now, is the only place in the city to have in-person primary voting June 23.

Big cities in Kentucky must have more than one polling place, lawsuit argues

Opening just one polling site in several of Kentucky's most densely populated counties would create "significant voter suppression," a new lawsuit maintains in asking a federal judge to order more in-person voting options for the primaries in two weeks.

The suit was filed Monday in federal court by Republican state Rep. Jason Nemes and voters from five counties in the Louisville, Lexington and Covington metro areas.

All of them are planning to have just one place to vote in-person June 23 in an effort to minimize the risk of coronavirus exposure at the polls, but the lawsuit says those plans will pose more health risks than they eliminate and effectively disenfranchise thousands. .

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