Despite fears that a single polling location in Warren County would result in voter suppression, few problems were reported as thousands voted Tuesday at Phil Moore Park.
Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams agreed to move the date for the primary election from May 19 to June 23, to expand absentee voting and to allow county clerks to limit the number of poll sites amid the coronavirus pandemic.
State Board of Elections data show Warren County had 76,998 registered voters eligible to cast a ballot in the primary – 40,671 Republicans and 36,327 Democrats.
Warren County Clerk Lynette Yates said Tuesday that more than 23,000 absentee ballots had been requested, more than half of which were filled out and returned, and that she expected 5,000 to 8,000 in-person voters.
Voter Karen Crabtree said she initially had concerns over one polling location in the state’s fifth-most populous county.
“I expected much larger lines ... a much longer wait ... a little bit of chaos,” she said Tuesday at Phil Moore Park. “(But) everything was streamlined, everything was helpful – I don’t think we were here more than 10 minutes.”
Crabtree said she received an absentee ballot, which she didn’t cast, but was still able to vote due to an order signed Monday by Adams, which allowed voters to cancel their absentee ballot at an in-person poll site.
Kenny Davidson said he did not have “any problems” at the poll and that he chose to vote in person because he thinks “it’s just a great experience to come out and exercise my right to vote.”
A member of the recently formed BG Freedom Walkers group named Bryson Bailey said he came to help direct voters to where they should go to ensure “quick access in and out.
“The lines are flowing very quickly, a lot of people are walking up and are confused, they don’t know where the line is because as soon as they step up, they’re getting in and they’re getting out.”
Bailey said he encountered one man who brought a book in anticipation of a long line, but was unable to read it because he was able to vote so quickly.
Various local organizations offered voters rides to and from Phil Moore Park, including the Housing Authority of Bowling Green, SOKY Chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Mount Zion Baptist Church and First Christian Church.
Yates said the total vote tally for individual races likely won’t be in until June 30, which is when they are due, because absentee ballots could still be sent in Tuesday.
The Associated Press reported that initial Warren County polling statistics Tuesday night showed U.S. Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker with 1,076 votes compared to 497 votes for Amy McGrath.
In the GOP race for the 2nd District U.S. House seat, incumbent Brett Guthrie led with 2,138 votes over 169 for Kathleen Free.
– Follow multimedia journalist Emily Zantow on Twitter @EmilyZantowNews or visit bgdailynews.com.