Politics & Government

Attorney General reports 226 calls to election fraud hotline amid steady turnout

Good weather and plenty of candidates meant steady turnout for registered Kentucky voters on Tuesday.

The Kentucky Board of Elections recorded about 46 percent of percent of voters turned out acorss the state, a little less than in previous midterm elections.

Secretary of State Alison Grimes projected last week that about half of the state's 3.1 million registered voters would go to the polls.

Turnout appeared to range between 40 percent and 50 percent throughout the state; Jefferson and Fayette counties had turnout of about 47 percent, and another populous county, Boone, was at just 37 percent.

In 2010, a similar midterm cycle with one U.S. Senate race and county offices on the ballot in Kentucky, 49 percent of voters went to the polls. About 49.5 percent of the Kentucky electorate voted in the 2006 midterm cycle, according to the secretary of state's office.

By Oct. 27, 22,390 voters had cast early votes on machines in county clerks' offices, and 21,590 absentee ballots had been mailed to voters.

By 7:30 p.m., the Attorney General's Election Fraud Hotline reported 226 calls from 52 counties. Most of those calls appeared to be procedural questions, but some included the longtime practice of vote buying.

A recent push by Magoffin County ministers to stop vote buying apparently had mixed results: There were seven calls about vote buying or selling in that Eastern Kentucky county. Clay, Floyd and Breathitt counties had one call apiece about vote buying.

Magoffin also had one of the state's highest voter turn-outs, about 63 percent.

Last month, the state's law against placing campaign signs near polling places was struck down, but the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a partial stay, allowing the buffer zone to largely stay in place for the November election.

Lynn Zellen, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Secretary of State's office, said the state Board of Elections had received several calls Tuesday morning related to electioneering, polling places and voting machines. All those calls were resolved.

"It was a pretty smooth day," Zellen said.

One new thing in Fayette County: For the first time in a long time, Lexingtonians could vote, buy a horse and buy a drink on the same day.

In September, the Urban County Council repealed the ordinance banning alcohol sales until polls close, so patrons at Keeneland's November Breeding Stock Sale could toast their purchases and their sales.

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