By BRETT BARROUQUERE
Associated Press Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A national political organization set up tables at several Louisville voting precincts Tuesday, prompting complaints from voters casting ballots for governor and other statewide offices.
Members of MoveOn.org, a liberal political group, were too close to the polling places, said Les Fugate, a spokesman for the Kentucky Secretary of State's office.
"A number of voters are complaining that it's intimidating," Fugate said. "It's getting to be a bit of an issue."
Doug Gordon, a spokesman for MoveOn.org, said the group's volunteers were tracking results of their efforts to encourage voting before election day.
"They were following up on their get out the vote efforts," Gordon said. "It's just all part of that effort."
Sheriff's deputies and elections officials asked the group, along with others who have drawn complaints, to move outside the 300 foot radius of a polling place required by law.
The complaint was one of only a few reported by midday in what elections officials described as a smooth-running, low-turnout election.
Fugate said early Tuesday afternoon that 42 percent turnout was expected by the end of the day.
"There's no reason to adjust that up," Fugate said.
The other major complaint of the day started before the polls opened in southwestern Kentucky and was resolved by midmorning. Poll workers at an Oak Grove precinct threatened to leave after being denied access to food, bathrooms and phones, said Melinda Humphries, deputy clerk for elections in Christian County.
Oak Grove Mayor Dan Potter said he was trying to protect a recently renovated section of city hall from food stains and cigarette smoke.
"We don't want Coca-Cola or coffee spilled on the floor," Potter said. "There's a lot of tension right now, but it'll be over by 6 p.m., and we won't have to see them again for at least another year."
The top race on Tuesday's ballot was between incumbent Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher and Democratic challenger Steve Beshear. Pre-election polling by various media outlets put Beshear in front by 15-23 points.
Linda Rose, a 54-year-old bank manager from Prestonsburg, voted for Fletcher at the Floyd County Courthouse in eastern Kentucky, where about a dozen voters trickled in within the first hour after the polls opened.
"I'm against gambling big time and for conservative Christian values," Rose said.
Kay Ross, 45, an adult education director for Floyd County, voted for Beshear. Ross said no particular issue influenced her. "I think it would be something new and fresh ... I think he'll listen to the people of Kentucky," Ross said. "Not that I think Governor Fletcher hasn't, but I think he has a personal agenda."
Mickie Sulham, a 55-year-old banker, voted for Beshear at Ashland Elementary School in Lexington. Sulham said she didn't vote a straight Democratic ticket and wasn't voting for Beshear because he was a great candidate.
"I'm not that big (of) a Beshear supporter, I'm just against Fletcher," Sulham said. "I think I voted for Fletcher (in 2003) but I wouldn't swear to it, it's been four years."
Jack Huber, a 46-year-old industrial supplies salesman, voted for Fletcher at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, even though two of his children worked for Beshear's campaign. Huber said Fletcher's work bringing the World Equestrian Games to Lexington in 2010, among other things, convinced him the incumbent deserves another shot.
As for the difference with his children?
"I don't talk to my kids about (politics) I let them make their own choices," Huber said. "They're not going to be listening to me anyway."
Voters were also casting ballots in several other statewide races.
Incumbent state Auditor Crit Luallen, a Democrat, faces Republican Linda Greenwell in a rematch of their 2003 campaign. Incumbent Secretary of State Trey Grayson is challenged by Democrat Bruce Hendrickson, a former small-town mayor from southeastern Kentucky. Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, a popular former University of Kentucky basketball player, is opposed by Democrat David L. Williams, a perennial candidate who was once a Republican.
Campaigns for two statewide offices do not involve an incumbent.
Republican Melinda Wheeler, who is running on a platform to abolish the office of treasurer, is running against Democrat Todd Hollenbach. Meanwhile, Democrat Jack Conway takes on Republican state Rep. Stan Lee in the race for attorney general.
Associated Press Writer Samira Jafari in Prestonsburg contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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