voter turnout

Kentucky voter turnout low but better than expected

Better than 28% make it to polls

jhewlett@herald-leader.comNovember 9, 2011 

A record 2,944,603 Kentuckians were registered to vote in Tuesday's general election, but just more than 28 percent made the trip to the polls.

By about 10:45 p.m., with 99.61 percent of precincts reporting, 837,868 ballots had been counted.

The percentage of voters was slightly higher than the 25 percent to 28 percent that Secretary of State Elaine N. Walker had predicted. In the 2007 general election, when Kentuckians first elected Steve Beshear governor, the turnout was 37.8 percent.

The turnout was much higher than expected in some precincts.

"It is better than we thought," said Kitty Ware of the Fayette County clerk's office. "We had some precincts that had as many as 50 percent turn out. I think the weather helped."

Overall, 61,494, or 33 percent, of Fayette County's 187,821 registered voters went to the polls. The turnout in Jefferson County, which has 504,949 registered voters, was 32 percent — nowhere near the 44 percent of the last gubernatorial election.

But the percentage of those going to the polls in Jefferson County on Tuesday was nearly three times higher than the 11.3 turnout percentage in the May primary.

By the end of the day, the state attorney general's office's election-fraud hot line had received 24 calls generating 25 complaints and/or election-related questions from 16 counties: Bath, Bourbon, Boyle, Fayette, Greenup, Hopkins, Jefferson, Kenton, Madison, Magoffin, Marshall, Mason, McCracken, Nicholas, Pike and Whitley. There were three complaints of election fraud — two in Jefferson County and one in Magoffin County. There were complaints in Hopkins, Madison and McCracken counties of electioneering within 300 feet of polls. There was a request in Magoffin County for assistance with monitoring, and there were complaints in Greenup, Kenton, Madison, Marshall and Pike counties about election officials.

A news crew from WBKO-TV in Bowling Green was not allowed to film Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams when he went to vote in Burkesville.

"It's my understanding that a precinct worker, following the letter of the law and their training manual, did not allow the crew to film Mr. Williams," said Chris Kellogg, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state. She said she understood that Williams invited the crew to film him. Under Kentucky law, a person in a voting place may not be filmed in a way that would reveal his or her identity. "There's not anything that says if you give permission it's OK," Kellogg said.

The Kentucky Press Association and Kentucky Broadcasters Association worked to have the law changed for news coverage purposes during the last General Assembly. A bill to change the law did not make it out of the state Senate.

Herald-Leader staff writer Janet Patton contributed to this article.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service