The General Election in Western Kentucky much like the Primary has not appeared to have generated very much enthusiasm but a large number of absentee ballots has convinced a number of clerks that voter turn-out may now be much better than expected. With a few exceptions the grassroots effort in many counties has appeared down for most of the Fall Campaign. I, like many of the clerks that I spoke with, agree that most voters have been turned off and tuned out because of the barrage of negative TV ads. Western Kentuckians have been inundated with TV commercials from Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
Here are the predictions and thoughts of clerks in West Kentucky. I will try to provide a "part II" depending on the response I get.
Warren County- County Clerk Dot Owens is predicting a 45% turn-out if not more. Regarding absentee voting Owens said, " We have voted 1025 in house which exceeded expectations." Owens also stated "there had never been a waiting line to vote but there was one today." Warren County also sent out 300 absentee ballots by mail.
Daviess County- David "Oz" Osborne is expecting 48-50% turn-out in his county. "Oz" stated that absentee ballots were in line with four years ago with about 1400-1500 absentees. Osborne said, " We have the largest ballot in memory" so he expects a really good turn-out.
Calloway County- Ray Coursey said, "I think we will vote around 25-30% but that might even be a little optimistic." Coursey stated that while absentee voting was about normal there were not as many races on the ballot. Many of the county officials are unopposed in Calloway this year.
Christian County- Mike Kem says there is not as much interest as there was four years ago so he is expecting around a 35-36% voter turn-out in Christian County. Kem said that Absentees were down from four years ago so his prediction may even be optimistic.
Ballard County- Lynn Lane stated that she thought Ballard County voting would be "pretty heavy despite the fact that people were disgusted with all the negative ads". Lane is hoping for a 35-40% turn-out in Ballard County.
Henderson County- Renny Matthews said, "We have more in absentee voting in house and by mail than in May". Matthews said absentee voting had really picked up this week which she considered an indication of a good turn-out. About 35% or better is expected in Henderson County with Matthews saying, " I think the non-partisan races may have something to do with a better turn-out."
Hopkins County- Devra Steckler believes if the rain stays away then she expects a 46-50% turn-out. Steckler said, "Absentee voting has been good and I'm excited about a big turn-out in Hopkins County."
Logan County- Scottie Harper always keeps his cards close to his vest but he said, "We have a decent ballot and the absentees are some what larger with about 275-280 having voted in house and by mail." Harper also stated" We voted 32% in the Primary and I hope it would exceed that."
Lyon County- Sarah Defew said, "Absentees are way up". Defew expects a 58% voter turn-out. "We (Lyon County) vote ten percent higher than the state average." 170 voters had already voted absentee ballot on the machine which is up from 120 in the last election.
Marshall County- Dianne McKendree expects a turn-out that could be as high as 50%. McKendree said that 348 had already voted on the machine with another 100 by paper absentee ballots. Regarding her confidence for such a large turn McKendree said, "We have a lot of issues in Marshall County that we're concerned about."
Trigg County- Wanda Thomas expects a large a turn out in Trigg County. "We have a large ballot and five hundred more voters than four years ago." Thomas said that Trigg County four years ago voted 52% and she expects the turn-out to be around 57% this year. H.B. Quinn the long time County Attorney who lost in the Primary is running as a write-in candidate for County Attorney. When asked about voter perception of a write-in candidate Thomas stated that the experience is much easier now for voters with the paper ballots.