Biden, Trump, McConnell win primaries in Kentucky
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on a handful of primary elections across the United States (all times local):
Andy Barr releases statement on primary election results:
A statement from Andy Barr’s office Tuesday evening commented on the results of the state’s primary election.
"I have been lifted up and blessed by the gifts of healing prayer since the passing of my wife, Carol, last week. Those selfless and loving prayers have sustained me, my daughters and our family during this time of grief — and put us on the path to healing.
Tonight, I have been blessed to have the trust and support of voters, who have nominated me to serve the people of Kentucky’s 6th District in the United States Congress.”
Biden wins Kentucky’s Democratic primary
Joe Biden has won the Democratic presidential primary in Kentucky.
Tuesday’s results came as no surprise since the former vice president has accumulated the requisite number of delegates to clinch the presidential primary.
The Democratic presidential convention is set for late August.
President Donald Trump was earlier declared the winner of Kentucky’s Republican presidential primary, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won the Republican Senate primary in the state.
Kentucky’s Democratic Senate primary is one of the most interesting races on Tuesday. Amy McGrath and Charles Booker are competing to take on McConnell in November. The race was too early to call at poll close.
President Donald Trump has won the Republican presidential primary in Kentucky, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has won the Republican Senate primary in the state.
Tuesday’s results came as no surprise since Trump has consolidated support around his reelection bid. McConnell is the nation’s most powerful senator.
Trump has already accumulated the requisite number of delegates to clinch the Republican presidential nomination.
The Democratic Senate primary is one of the most interesting races on Tuesday. Amy McGrath and Charles Booker are competing to take on McConnell in November. The race was too early to call at poll close.
Advocacy groups are calling for extended voting time in Kentucky, citing long lines in one of the state’s largest cities.
The ACLU of Kentucky, the state’s NAACP chapter and other groups sent a letter to the state’s board of elections on Tuesday requesting a one-hour extension in counties that have had long lines. Polls in the state’s Eastern time zone close at 6 p.m.
Lexington’s lone polling sites had long lines at some points, but voting in Louisville’s only polling site had not seen similar delays.
“These long wait times have the potential to discourage voters from exercising their right to vote,” said the letter addressed to state board of elections executive director Jared Dearing and general counsel Taylor Brown.
Kentucky’s Secretary of State, Michael Adams, said despite some delays, Kentucky has been “a national success story.” He says, “Turnout is through the roof.”
A Kentucky woman was allowed to vote after convincing the board of elections that her dogs ate her and her husband's absentee ballots.
Christine Stanley, a 34-year-old Lexington health care attorney, voted in the Democratic primary at Kroger Field but only after getting out of line and going before the board of elections.
After showing the board evidence, including “lots of bite marks, drool and dirt,” she and her husband were allowed to vote, and Stanley said she voted for herself for the Urban County Council seat she is seeking, for Charles Booker in the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and for Democrat Josh Hicks to run against Republican Rep. Andy Barr.
“I haven’t seen Amy say anything that was really inspiring,” Stanley said by telephone after voting Tuesday. “Charles Booker, when he speaks, he talks about all these issues that are happening in Kentucky.”
Stanley, who is Black, said race didn’t really play a part in her choice of Booker.
“Charles Booker has legislative experience, and I think that he has seen firsthand what Kentucky needs,” she said. She believes McGrath should start at the state legislative level and try again in a few years.
A voter in New York says she applied for an absentee ballot in roughly April, but it never arrived.
Thirty-two-year-old illustrator Dena Cooper says she went to her polling place in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood on Tuesday to vote in person since she never received her absentee ballot. When she explained the situation to a poll worker, she was told to go home and wait for the absentee ballot to arrive.
But in fact, New York voters who have applied for but not cast absentee ballots can legally vote in person. After getting advice from Common Cause’s voter-information hotline, Cooper planned to try again to vote Tuesday evening.
Cooper was keen to vote for Bernie Sanders for president, even though Joe Biden has enough delegate support to be the Democratic presidential nominee.
She says she wants to give Sanders “as much power as he can possibly have” in negotiating the party’s priorities.
Scores of voters are standing in the cavernous entrances of a football stadium on the University of Kentucky’s campus in Lexington in lines that snake back-and-forth between metal barriers and spill outside onto the sidewalk.
Sixty-four-year-old Sharon Holland and her 38-year-old daughter, Sandy Perry, waited about an hour, including a few minutes with their umbrellas in the rain, to vote for President Donald Trump, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr.
Holland didn't like that Lexington had merged all its polling places into one large site, citing older voters and disabled voters as being particularly inconvenienced. But despite the long wait, she said she never considered leaving without voting.
“I needed to be here to cast my vote ‘cause if you don’t come and cast your vote then you really don’t have the right to complain about anything,” she said.
Both mother and daughter described Trump as having done an “excellent” job. Holland says, “People may not like the things he says or the way he says them.” But she says, “He does do what he says he’s going to do. I just look at policy.”
A voting rights advocate says there's a lot of work to do before the November election.
Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said Tuesday that “it’s clear that there are many voters who are seeking to vote absentee, and there are many reports of people who didn’t receive their ballots and had to go to polling places.”
New York, Kentucky and Virginia are holding congressional primaries Tuesday, and there was one Republican House runoff each in North Carolina and Mississippi.
Clarke said she was also concerned about President Donald Trump's repeated attacks on mail voting.
“What is plainly clear is that voters want as many options available to them,” Clarke said. “There are many people seeking to vote by absentee ballot, and there are many people seeking to vote in person.”
One voter in Lexington, Kentucky, says Tuesday's primary election was the longest he's ever spent in line to cast a ballot.
Fifty-five-year-old Bob Woods arrived at Kroger Field at the University of Kentucky around 10 a.m. and spent nearly an hour and fifteen minutes in a line winding through the entryway of the stadium before approaching the room where voters were being checked in.
“I knew that a lot of people had voted by mail previous to this, so I was a little surprised to still see that there were still that many people in line when I got there,” Woods said, adding: “This is definitely the longest that I’ve ever waited.”
Woods, who works in consulting, said the line hit a bottleneck at the check-in stations, where only about four workers for each of two lines were present to check voters in before allowing them into the booths, many of which remained open because of the holdup.
The check-in station also posed challenges for social distancing.
“People really got bunched up there,” Woods said, though he estimated that about 75-80% of people were masked.
Voting appears to be running smoother than in primaries held two weeks earlier in Georgia and Nevada.
While there were reports of some voters in New York and Kentucky having to cast ballots in person Tuesday after not receiving an absentee ballot, it did not appear to be causing the long lines that were seen in places like Milwaukee and Atlanta.
The longest wait times were reported at the lone voting site in Lexington, Kentucky. Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins says he added two more check-in stations after turnout remained steady into the late morning, with voters reporting a wait time of about an hour and a half.
“Usually we get a pretty big rush in the morning,” Blevins said. “That we expected, but usually it dies down around late morning. That didn’t happen.”
Wait times were minimal in Jefferson County, though voting advocates said they were concerned that the lone polling place for the entire Louisville area was too difficult for some voters to get to.
In New York City, much of the complaints fielded by voter protection groups centered on polling places that opened late and voters reporting they had not received both pages of their ballot.
In Louisville, voters encountered only mild traffic on their way into the Kentucky fairgrounds.
Inside the polling site, some chairs for volunteers were left empty, as crowds moved through to cast their ballots in small groups spaced apart.
“They should have more (elections) like this. You can get in and get out quick, said 70-year-old Mary Moorman, an African-American woman who said that she did not have to wait in lines like she normally would.
Michael Baker was dissatisfied with the polling location because it was far away from where he lived in the West End. He noted that most people in his neighborhood don't have cars.
Baker voted for state Rep. Charles Booker in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
“I heard people say to me that would take away a lot of votes from Amy (McGrath),” Baker said. “But being an African American brother, I want to use my vote for another brother to try and get into office, to hope that we can get some change.”
For some voters in Shelbyville, Kentucky, the state of America was a big factor in how they cast their ballots. For that reason, they voted for President Donald Trump and other Republicans.
Explaining his vote for Trump, health care worker Tony Parada said, “Not that I’m a fan of the gentleman necessarily, but I’m a strong anti-Marxist, and I feel like that’s an underpinning of a lot of American politics nowadays.”
Jerry and Libby Claypool said they were fearful of what might happen if Democrats won.
“I feel if Republicans don’t stay in power, this country is going to hell,” Jerry Claypool said.
“I feel like what’s going on right now is very, very scary,” his wife, Libby Claypool, added. She said she thinks people started out protesting nicely, but now it seems their agenda is destruction and it breaks her heart.
Neither Parada nor the Claypools, all of whom are white, had reservations about voting in person.
“I’ve lived through a lot of diseases and yes, this is a bad one, but let’s get real. We’re not all going to die from it,” said Libby Claypool, who said she’s nearly 80.
Kentucky's two biggest cities are trying something new this year because of the coronavirus pandemic: They consolidated polling places to one big site in each city.
So far, it seems to be working out, despite heavy rainfall in Kentucky.
In Louisville, the state's largest city with 600,000 residents, voters are being shuttled to the Kentucky Exposition Center from satellite lots. Large crowds were flowing through the convention center so quickly Tuesday morning that there was no need for people to stand at wait at the many social distancing markers on the floor.
“It was in and out, no waiting at all,” said 51-year-old Anthony Spicer, an African American explosives expert who works as a consultant to law enforcement and the military. But he wasn’t able to vote in the Democratic Party primary like he wanted to because he’s a registered independent. He ended up switching parties and said: “Now I should be set for November.”
In Lexington, the state’s second-largest city with 323,000 people, voters are being sent into the hallways of the University of Kentucky’s football stadium.
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