FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Despite crowded ballots, massive numbers of Kentucky’s registered voters opted to skip last month’s primary election.
While voter turnout was lackluster statewide, it was nothing short of dismal in some localities, including Kenton County where 90 percent of registered voters stayed home.
Turnout barely topped 20 percent statewide, despite a long list of contested legislative primaries and competitive races for county-level offices.
“We had 23.5 percent head to the polls,” said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s top election official and chairwoman of the Board of Elections. “Much of that was due to counties where only one party or the other had contested races. Our goal now is to improve that number for the fall.”
In at least 17 counties, fewer than 20 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Kenton County recorded the lowest turnout at 10.01 percent. Mercer County was second lowest with 12.86 percent turnout, followed by Hardin County with 13 percent and Campbell County with 13.47 percent.
The State Board of Elections certified election results on Tuesday with one exception: a judicial race in Jefferson County where the top vote-getter died the day after the election and where the second and third place finishers were separated by only 17 votes.
In non-partisan judicial races, the top two vote-getters typically meet in the November general election. A judge has been asked to decide whether, under the circumstances, the second and third place finishers should be on the ballot in the Jefferson County race.
Election officials contend the second-place finisher should be on the ballot alone.
Grimes said investigators are continuing to look into three complaints of alleged election law violations in Bracken, Franklin and Martin counties. More than 120 complaints were called in to the Board of Election’s hotline on Election Day.
In addition, the attorney general’s office received 318 complaints regarding election issues. Of those 81 have been referred to investigators.
Attorney General Andy Beshear is scheduled to draw the names of six counties at random on Wednesday for post-election audits, which are required under state law.