Polls closing in eastern half of Ky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Polls are closing in the portions of Kentucky that are in the eastern time zone.

Polls in Kentucky are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time. The polls in the central time zone will remain open until 6 p.m. CST.

People standing in line at the polls at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Besides the presidential race, Kentucky voters are choosing U.S. representatives, legislators and a Supreme Court justice as well as voting on a constitutional amendment to protect hunting.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler will have to overcome a burdensome drag from the top of the ballot to win a fifth term in Congress when the votes are counted Tuesday.

The strategy of Republican challenger Andy Barr was to build the 6th District race on President Barack Obama, an unpopular political figure in Kentucky.

Chandler was hours away from finding out if he would survive what one political scientist described as "the Obama albatross that he's got around his neck." Obama yielded the state to GOP nominee Mitt Romney after a poor showing in the Democratic primary. Some 42 percent of Kentucky Democrats marked their ballots "uncommitted" even though Obama was the only name on the ballot.

Polls close at 6 p.m. in Kentucky's eastern and western time zones.

The Chandler-Barr matchup has been Kentucky's most high-profile race, with around-the-clock TV ads in the Lexington area. Five other congressional races are on the ballot, though none are considered competitive. Voters also will choose several judges and prosecutors, as well as ratify or reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee Kentuckians the right to hunt and fish.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes expected a record number of voters to cast ballots in Kentucky.

Latonia truck driver Ed Talley, 61, a lifelong Democrat who changed his registration to Republican earlier this year, voted for Romney. The deciding factor: Disappointment in Obama.

"I thought the guy would shine. He's the first black president, and everything else, but he got his chance to shine and just bombed," Talley said.

Murray State University student Shawanta Jones said she voted for Obama. The 20-year-old Democrat said she has been impressed with president's handling of the economy.

"I mean, I live in it, and everybody knows it's so out of whack right now," Jones said. "It's starting to not only affect me, but my family."

By Tuesday afternoon, the Kentucky Attorney General's Office had received 130 calls dealing with procedural questions, complaints about voting machines, even three allegations of vote-buying or selling in Clay, Knox and Wolfe counties.

Ricky McKenna, a 22-year-old Republican who works at IGA in Morehead, voted for Romney, saying he's better for the economy. McKenna also voted in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment to protect hunting, an initiative of the National Rifle Association.

"I voted to keep the constitutional right for hunting the same, because we should have the right to hunt when we want to," McKenna said.

Chandler and Barr are in a rematch for the 6th District seat. Chandler won the last go-around by fewer than 700 votes.

Combined, Chandler and Barr have spent some $4 million, with most of that going to mean-spirited TV ads that have been running around-the-clock since late summer. Outside groups have spent a similar amount on the race.

Estelle Sizemore, a 52-year-old jeweler from Richmond and a Democrat, chose Chandler, citing his family's history of holding elected offices and work in Kentucky.

"Andy Barr shines the shoes of Ben Chandler. His family has been in public service for decades and that's we need here," Sizemore said.

In other Kentucky congressional races, U.S. Reps. Hal Rogers, Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie and John Yarmuth face no major threats. And in Kentucky's 4th District, where U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis resigned, tea party Republican Thomas Massie is expected to win his race against Democrat Bill Adkins, a northern Kentucky attorney.

In state legislative races, Democrats hope to cut into the Republican majority in the state Senate. And Republicans expect to pick up several House seats, though it was unlikely they would win enough to take majority control from Democrats.

Kentucky has 47 contested House races and 10 contested Senate races on the ballot.

In eastern Kentucky, Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott and a challenger, Court of Appeals Judge Janet Stumbo, are in a heated race.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus