PRESTONSBURG Voters across Kentucky are already casting ballots for this years May 17th primary election. While not all Kentuckians can head to the polls before Election Day, Kentucky law does provide opportunities for some voters to cast absentee ballots before the May 17, 2011 primary election. Many county clerks offices across the state have already started in-person absentee voting, where voters actually vote on voting machines similar to those used on election day. The offices must allow in-house absentee voting at least 12 working days before election day. The actual start date for in person absentee is left to County Clerks and their office hours. Voters will have until May 16, 2011 to cast an in-person absentee ballot. In Floyd County, Clerk Chris Waugh has issued a public notice telling registered voters that the absentee voting machine has now been set up in the Floyd County Courthouse. Waugh's office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday. "Absentee votes are not a huge part of the process usually, but they are a part," Waugh said. "It's set up to make anybody be able to vote. Basically, if a person is physically unable to vote it allows them to by absentee or if they are out of town or for women in their last trimester of pregnancy. So it's set up so there's no excuse for anybody not to vote. There's provisions that cover just about everything." Waugh, who said he has had 21 requests by paper ballot, has had his machine set up at his office since Monday and said he's hopes more people take advantage of this in the coming days. Such paper ballots for mail-in votes must be received during office hours in respective clerks' offices by May 10. After receiving an approved application, county clerks will mail a ballot to the respective voters, and voters will have until 6 p.m. local time on election day to return their ballots to the county clerk. It is very important that everyone votes in this upcoming election. Kentucky law provides voters with a number of opportunities to cast a ballot, stated Kentucky Secretary of State Elaine N. Walker, the Chief Election Officer of the Commonwealth. I hope that all citizens will plan for Election Day accordingly, and if they cannot make it to the polls on Election Day that they still vote absentee. There simply is no unimportant election.