A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky election officials say turnout for Tuesday’s general election may be larger than projected

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Long lines at polling places may mean a larger than predicted voter turnout in the 2018 General Election in Kentucky.

State Board of Elections staff members reported to the board hearing stories of long lines from county clerks and that, other than a few minor machine glitches, mostly when polls opened, the election had been running smoothly.

Voters had to wait through lines in Louisville on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Robin Cornetet, Kentucky Today)

Five counties are using the new E Poll Books in every precinct, while 104 others are using them in one or more voting locations, as a pilot project.

A representative from Tenex Software Solutions, the vendor of the E Poll Books, showed the board that they can tell a voter who was in the wrong precinct where they need to go.  By shortly after noon, they were able to direct 12,000 voters to the correct location, which saves local clerks and the State Board of Elections a lot of phone calls.

It also can show the number of people who have signed in to vote.  As of shortly after noon in Franklin County, one of the five using the books countywide, 38 percent of the registered voters had appeared.  Franklin County Clerk Jeff Hancock had predicted a 45 to 50 percent turnout, so that forecast may end up being low.  Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes predicted a 46 percent or more total statewide.

Anyone who sees what they believe may be an election irregularity or possible violation of election law, may call the Attorney General’s hotline, at (800) 328-VOTE (8683).  As of 1:30 p.m., they had received 174 calls on the hotline, as well as 178 prior to Election Day.

Some of the complaints have been categorized as allegations of election fraud, procedural matters, vote buying/selling, electioneering, complaints about election officials, and mailers that were sent out in parts of the state. Leading up to the election.

The Attorney General’s office investigates all the complaints for election law violations, working with local prosecutors if the complaints are confirmed.

There are several dates coming up when election-related actions are to occur.

• November 9: County Clerks are to certify the vote totals.
• November 13: The deadline for candidates to request recanvasses, in the case of close finishes.
• November 15: Recanvasses are conducted by local election officials.
• November 16: Clerks are required to report results of any recanvasses.
• November 19: County Boards of Elections certify results.
• November 20: The State Board of Elections will meet to certify the results.

The proposed Constitutional Amendment known as “Marsy’s Law” will not be certified, until final court action takes place, likely at the Kentucky Supreme Court.  Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled the ballot language was vague and uninformative.  He ordered the State Board of Elections not to certify the results pending the outcome of appeals, but the vote totals will be recorded.

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