Politics & Government

Judge declares Elkhorn City mayor's office vacant

PIKEVILLE — A judge has declared the Elkhorn City mayor's office vacant because county residents were given ballots that included the city race in November.

Candidate Mike Taylor won a plurality of votes in his race against Billy Roger Powell, Scott Sykes and Richard "Hank" Salyer. Powell sued the county board of elections and presented evidence Thursday that at least several dozen voters who lived outside the city limits but vote at the same two precincts as city residents were given ballots that included the city races.

Circuit Judge Steven D. Combs, in his ruling Thursday, noted that voting machines were also set for Central Standard Time instead of Eastern time, a mistake that was fixed on Election Day but did not prevent voters from casting ballots.

"No fraud, intimidation or bribery has been proven in this election. However the Court believes that 'violence' in the conduct of this election has been proven," quoting the Kentucky Revised Statutes that outline fair elections. "The right to vote is sacrosanct in our representative democracy, and the court believes it would do 'violence' to that right if it allowed any invalid votes to be considered in this election."

The Elkhorn City council will meet to appoint a mayor to serve until the next general election.