Politics & Government

About one in four registered voters cast a ballot in Kentucky Tuesday

Voters signed in to vote at the Fairhaven voting precinct located in the truck bay at Lexington Fire Department Fire Station 22 on Clearwater Drive.
Voters signed in to vote at the Fairhaven voting precinct located in the truck bay at Lexington Fire Department Fire Station 22 on Clearwater Drive.

Despite some hotly contested elections in Tuesday's primary, only about one in four registered Kentucky voters bothered to cast a ballot.

Voter turnout was a dismal 23 percent with 97.5 percent of the vote counted, according to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who had predicted a rate of around 30 percent.

In Fayette County, where voters made choices in a crowded mayoral primary and a highly touted Democratic primary for Congress, about 24.7 percent of registered voters came out.

A few counties in the 6th Congressional District, though, saw much higher figures. In Franklin County, 42.9 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. Powell County, on the eastern edge of the district, had 47 percent turnout, thanks to a vote on alcohol sales, which passed.

Kentucky voters had lodged 139 complaints about voting irregularities with the attorney general's office as of Tuesday evening.

Common complaints about voting statewide included vote buying, electioneering, special and absentee ballots, legal questions and general election fraud.

There were 14 reports of vote buying or bribery in Breathitt, Clay, Magoffin, Perry, Wayne and Wolfe counties. Those reports will be investigated by the office of Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Fayette County had only minor voting issues, according to Meredith Watson with the county clerk's office. Those issues included replacing faulty voting machines and taking calls from voters seeking precinct information.

A voter reported that technical issues had temporarily shut down voting for the Buckhorn precinct, one of several at St. Luke United Methodist Church on Alumni Drive. Tech workers were dispatched at 9:15 a.m. to fix the situation.

The county had some difficulty getting enough election officers, but pulled through in the end, Blevins said.

"We were challenged a little bit this year," Blevins said. "I think some people are challenged because it's a little bit acrimonious out there."

Democratic congressional candidates Jim Gray and Amy McGrath made their way across Kentucky's 6th District on Monday in a final push before Tuesday's balloting.

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