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(The Center Square) – Kentucky registered voters who want to switch party affiliations before the May 17 primary have until Friday to do so and be eligible to vote in their new party’s 2022 primary election.

Secretary of State Michael Adams issued the reminder in a statement earlier this week. While new Kentucky voters have until April 18 to register for the primary, state law requires party switchers to do so before the end of the year to participate in the ensuing year’s primary.

Adams has lobbied the General Assembly to push back the deadline for voters switching parties. In addition, he’s called for a more open primary process that would enable independent voters to cast ballots in party primaries. Currently, Kentucky offers closed primaries, meaning independent voters can only cast ballots in nonpartisan primary races.

Kentucky residents seeking to register for the first time or change their party registration can do so online at elect.ky.gov and click on the “Register Online to Vote” button.

In recent months, Adams’ office has been removing more names from the registered voter rolls than adding new ones. Last week, he announced that the state added 7,349 new voters in November while 7,755 were removed.

It was the eighth time this year that state election officials removed more names than added, according to a statement from Adams.

Of those removed, 6,606 were deceased, while 615 had felony convictions disqualifying them. Others were removed because they moved out of state, were ruled by a court to be mentally incompetent or voluntarily revoked their registered voter status.

“Cleaning up our voter rolls not only prevents election fraud, it also saves voters and poll workers time, and makes the lines shorter, on election day,” Adams said.

While Republicans hold large majorities in the General Assembly in Frankfort, control both of Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seats and five of the six U.S. House seats, Democrats still hold the lead over the GOP in terms of voter registration.

However, that margin is a narrow one.

Through November, there are 1,631,845 registered Democrats, down 5,161 from the previous month, compared to 1,586,189 registered Republicans, up 3,872 from October.

The state also has 339,100 voters who consider themselves independent or belong to other parties. That list grew by 883 from the previous month.