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Secretary of State Michael Adams visits Marie Gatton Phillips School in Sacramento following its recognition as a blue ribbon school.

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams visited McLean County last week to award McLean County Clerk Carol Eaton on her election year work and to congratulate Marie Gatton Phillips Elementary for its blue ribbon status.

Adams said the visit was his first to McLean County since being sworn into office in January this year.

He said his primary goal were to award Eaton with her designation as a Commonwealth Ambassador, which is an award recognizing individuals for their involvement in their government and community.

“I congratulated her on being one of about a dozen county clerks so far to reopen up all of the polls in the county. We’ve got a few here and there that have managed to do that and I wanted to give her a special recognition,” he said.

Adams also visited MGPES in Sacramento to meet with principal Jon Farley, MClean County Board of Education chairman Wendell Miller and superintendent Tommy Burrough to congratulate the school for its recent blue ribbon status.

The school is one of five in the state to receive the award. This is the second time MGPES has received blue ribbon status.

Adams also discussed the upcoming Nov. 3 general election, commenting on the reliability of the absentee ballot process for Kentucky.

“I want to confirm for voters that the absentee process is safe, it’s secret … we don’t know who you voted for. There are controls in place to ensure against fraud, so no one can steal your identity or steal your ballot,” he said.

According to Adams, there is a detailed process county clerks go through to verify absentee ballot requests and the identity of voters through the Kentucky license database and signature matching. He said the barcodes on the absentee ballot envelopes also allows the state and the voter to track the ballot in the mailing system.

Additionally, Adams said there is a new cure process for absentee ballots returned with technical errors, such as a missing signature or an unsealed envelope. While clerks used to be required to throw out ballots with any such mistakes, he said they are now required to contact the voter to give them a chance to correct the error.

“Every in-person election we have, people make mistakes on their ballot and when they ask for a new ballot, we switch them out. That’s not available to an absentee voter as easily, so we made that change,” Adams said. “It’s going to help tens of thousands of people get their ballots counted.”

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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