Politics & Government

Less than half of Kentucky voters showed up Tuesday. Lexington rate was higher.

Fayette County voters turning out in force Tuesday morning

Fayette County is experiencing a larger voter turnout than usual creating long wait times. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday for elections in Lexington and across Kentucky.
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Fayette County is experiencing a larger voter turnout than usual creating long wait times. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday for elections in Lexington and across Kentucky.

Fewer than half of Kentucky’s registered voters cast a ballot in the midterm elections Tuesday.

With all counties reporting their totals to the State Board of Elections, voter turnout was at 47.38 percent.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes last week predicted about 46 percent of the 3.4 million Kentuckians registered to vote would participate, the same rate as the midterm election in 2014. Only about 23 percent of voters participated in the May primary.

In Lexington, 52 percent of registered voters showed up, a participation rate that was higher than most midterm years, said Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins, Jr. Many posted on social media about long lines to cast ballots, which also were long with many local races to choose from. By mid-afternoon, the city had secured 30 extra voting machines to deploy around the city.

“We saw a need with some of the wait times,” said Meredith Watson, deputy clerk in Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins’ office. “We’re hearing anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.”

The lines got much longer at First Baptist Church Bracktown Tuesday about 4 p.m. after a car wreck on Leestown Road knocked out a transformer and cut electricity to the church and surrounding neighborhoods. Three precincts — Stallion Run, Whiteberry and Town Branch — vote there and the back-up batteries did not appear to be working on most of the machines, said Bracktown pastor C.B. Akins.

“The lines have been long all day, like nothing I’ve ever seen,” Akins said. “Now they’re even longer.”

As of 7:02 p.m., the Attorney General’s voter fraud hotline had received 273 calls. Prior to Election Day, the hotline had received 178.

In Fayette County, there had been 11 calls concerning electioneering, eight concerning election officials, two legal questions, five involving mailers, two for disrupting polls, eight for general election fraud, three for a procedural question, and three concerning a voting machine.

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