Higher voter turnout expected while number of volunteers to work polls is down

Published: May. 17, 2018 at 5:26 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

In just a few days Kentucky voters will head to the polls to choose their candidates for the general election in November.

"The momentum is obviously building," said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes is predicting a statewide turnout of 30 percent or less. If the state does hit 30% it will be the highest for a primary since 2010. Meanwhile, the Fayette County Clerk is predicting a turnout of about 27 percent and Franklin County which usually sees some of the higher numbers in the state is predicting between 35 and 40 percent

"A lot of citizens in Franklin County are state workers and they get a half day off work to go vote, so I think that attributes to the majority of our turnout," explained Franklin County Clerk Jeff Hancock.

While the Secretary of State is hoping for a higher voter turnout than in recent years, they are seeing lower numbers as far as people signing up to work the polls.

"I've had to to assist county clerks and local groups in trying to recruit people to be a part of this effort," said Grimes.

In her seven years as the state's cheif election officer she says this is the first time she's had to make this type of push. She says they've felt the impact of current climate surrounding politics on people's desire to get involved, "In this day and age you open your Twitter feed and all you see are negative things, the back and forth, especially about governemnt."

Another factor some clerks attribute it to is that Kentucky is coming off an off election year and the fact that many precinct officers have been volunteering for decades.

"A lot of our election officers are aging out and retiring," said Hancock.

The lower volunteer numbers are not expected to have an impact on primary election day with the needed postitions now filled. However, they say it is an example of a need to get a new generation involved in government.

Kentucky's statewide elections require 15,000 poll workers. Laws require that there is equal representation of political parties among workers at polling locations.