So how popular was in-person early voting in Whitley County for this year’s presidential election?
Let’s look at the numbers.
Out of the 15,000 or so votes cast for president in Whitley County, 10,017 were done by people doing early, in-person voting. To put it another way, two-thirds of the ballots were cast in this manner.
As our elected leaders in Frankfort ponder in the coming months about whether to make early voting a permanent part of the election process, they should keep these numbers in mind.
By and large, everyone liked early voting, and having the polls open on the three Saturdays prior to Election Day.
This benefits people, who have to work for a living. They might not really have a good time to go cast a ballot during the 12 hours that the polls are open on Election Day. However, chances are that they have a few minutes to drop by the county clerk’s office in the three weeks leading up to the election to cast a ballot.
Speaking of our elections, a big thank you is due to all of our election officials starting with our poll workers to the ladies in the county clerk’s office to the local board of elections overseeing the voting process and tabulating the results, and everyone else, who helps make the system work.
By and large these are hardworking, honest folks, who take their responsibilities very seriously to ensure we have honest fair elections and to make sure that every vote is counted.
I’ve been the room countless times as votes are being tabulated, and these folks meticulously check the results, and add and add again the totals and compare them to the machine totals to ensure that the results are correct.
While I am a big fan of expanding early in-person voting, I am not a huge fan of a massive expansion of mail-in voting, such as mailing out ballots to every registered voter as some states do. This voting method carries a huge potential for abuse should someone try and rig an election.
Let me offer a for instance. Does anyone think that a drug addict would hesitate for a minute to sell their ballot for $10 to someone looking to rig a local election?
There some unscrupulous people that have and would try to do it. Buying 200 – 500 votes could quite easily sway a close local election, and let’s face it, there are some politicians out there, who are “ethically challenged” to put it mildly.
With this said, we have had mail-in voting/absentee voting in Kentucky for decades now without any big problems, or small ones that I am aware of. Mainly these ballots in the bluegrass state go out to either our elderly residents, who are sometimes physically unable go to the polls on Election Day, such as those in nursing homes, or to local members of our military, who are serving elsewhere.
Speaking of elections, locally last week’s election results didn’t really surprise me much. Allison Moore and Seth Reeves will be joining the Corbin City Commission next year alongside incumbent city commissioners Trent Knuckles and Brandon Shepherd. It should be a good group.
The make-up of the Williamsburg City Council remains unchanged with all six incumbents easily winning re-election. Things are going really well in Williamsburg right now with several new restaurants and businesses opening downtown.
Voters apparently decided that if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it.
The only other contested local races on the ballot were for the Third-District and Fourth-District seats on the Whitley County Board of Education.
In the Third-District, incumbent Malorie Cooper beat back a challenge by former Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz winning by a vote of 1,150 to 973. In the Fourth-District, incumbent Brenda Hill withstood a challenge from Danny Terrell winning by a vote of 821-550.
Cooper’s win is pretty significant in that this was the first time that Schwartz, who served about 12 years as county clerk and is arguably one of the most popular politicians in the county, had ever lost an election.
Like the Williamsburg City Council race, I think this was again largely a case of don’t fix it, if it isn’t broken, and Whitley County schools have been doing pretty well overall in recent years.