OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) The Kentucky primary is next Tuesday, but some Kentucky voters are already heading to the polls.

The early voting period is underway in the commonwealth.

All day, people have been coming in and out of the Owensboro Sportscenter and other places that serve as voting centers for this month’s primary. This is the first day of the three-day early voting period, and the first time this format is being used here in the commonwealth.

“Did well,” said Mae Powers of Owensboro. “It was quick and easy and not too crowded.”

“Quick and easy,” added Donna Norris of Owensboro.

Some early voters at the Sportscenter say they took the early voting option to avoid potential crowds, others did it because they can’t make it next week.

“I like it because it gives me more opportunity,” said Doug Ellis, who voted at the Sportscenter Thursday afternoon.

Early voting is rather unique for Kentucky. This year’s early voting period is the first after lawmakers approved changes to Kentucky law allowing for early voting without an excuse. Kentucky voters had the option of a longer early voting period in 2020, which was put in place due to the pandemic. Prior to that no-excuse early voting was not an option in Kentucky.

“A lot of the times, systems like this, I feel like, won’t change until they have a good reason, and I think the pandemic showed them that there is a more efficient way,” said Clint Montgomery of Owensboro.

A spokesperson with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office says early estimates show about 215,000 Kentuckians will vote early this primary. State and Daviess County election officials say no major problems at polls were reported on day one. Some early voters we talked with say they didn’t have any specific races they were focused on this time, and were just glad they could vote.

“Cast my vote on all of them. At least now I can gripe,” said Ellis.

The early voting period wraps up this Saturday, and the primary is next Tuesday, May 17th.

(This story was originally published on May 12, 2022)