Over 50 percent of voters go to polls in Whitley County
Over half of Whitley County’s registered voters went to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots in the presidential race.
Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz said voter turnout was 51.84 percent, which exceeded her prediction of a 48 percent turnout.
“That was very good. I am very pleased,” she noted.
Statistics from Frankfort indicate that voter turnout in 2012 was 29.7 percent, but News Journal archives indicate that the voter turnout that year was 50.35 percent, which is consistent with voter turnout in other prior presidential elections in Whitley County recently.
Voter turnout in 2008 was 54.2 percent and it was nearly 55 percent in 2004, according to News Journal archives.
Schwartz said that several voting precincts had a larger voter turnout than they did four years ago in the last presidential election, and that several precincts voted over 800 people.
Election officials had to take additional voting ballots to six precincts, which ran low, including: Mastertown, Barton, Tattersall, Spruceburg, Woodbine and Rockholds.
Out of those precincts, Woodbine, Mastertown and Spruceburg had to use at least some of their additional ballots.
Schwartz said that she has only had to take additional ballots to precincts during one prior election, but this is the first time that a precinct has actually used the additional ballots.
Schwartz said that there were no problems reported at precincts on Election Day.
“Our biggest issue today was people not changing their voter registration to be registered in the precinct that they live in. The law requires you to vote in the precinct where you live,” she noted. “We had Laurel County people. We had Knox County people. We had McCreary County people. If they weren’t registered in Whitley County, they could not vote here.”
Nancy Jones, Whitley County Republican Party Co-Chairperson, said she was impressed with the turnout, and thinks the people were trying to send a message.
“I think the people wanted their voice to be heard and they did this time more than I have ever seen since I have been in it, and I have been in it a long time,” Jones said. “I am proud of the people voicing their opinion of what they wanted.”
Local voters overwhelmingly gave their support in the U.S. Senate race to incumbent Republican Rand Paul, who garnered 9,748 votes in Whitley County to Democratic challenger Jim Gray’s 3,795 votes.
Statewide, Paul won re-election picking up about 56 percent of the vote statewide to Gray’s 44 percent.
U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Somerset) and Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers were both unopposed in their bids for re-election.
The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office Election Fraud hotline received a total of 216 calls from 59 counties Tuesday, according to a press release.
Two of those calls were from Whitley County. One call involved a “procedural question” and the other call is listed as “election official.”
Terry Sebastian, a spokesperson for Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office, said the second call was just a call to their office from a poll worker with a question.