Whitley recanvass requests expected
Whitley County voters got to the polls to cast their ballots for president, U.S. senate, district judge and several local races Tuesday, but not by the amount local officials were expecting.
Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz had anticipated about a 65 percent turnout for Tuesday’s General Election, but instead about 52.4 percent of Whitley County voters went to the polls.
“This is a little less than I had anticipated. I thought we would have more of a turnout,” Schwartz said. “We had lines in at least three to four of the precincts all day long.
“I thought with that kind of interest, we would have had a bigger turnout than 52 percent.”
The percentage voting was about the same as that in the last presidential election in Whitley County when 54 percent of registered voters went to the polls in 2004.
Schwartz said she thinks the lines at certain precincts most of the day can be attributed to voter interest in local races like school boards.
There were also contested elections for Corbin City Commission and Williamsburg City Council.
Schwartz said the election ran pretty smoothly.
A technician was on-hand all day, and she went out to several precincts.
In two precincts, Schwartz said a voter had raised the write-in door and not closed it, which will prevent a voter from pressing the button to cast their ballot.
She said there was a report in Corbin about one button being hard to press in a precinct there.
The technician went to the precinct, put the machine in test mode, and tried all the buttons.
“She said there was one that was ever so slightly a little bit harder to press than the others, but nothing to be concerned about. It was nothing that would make a difference at all,” Schwartz said.
She said there were two reports about electioneering at the polls at two precincts in Williamsburg.
At the College Hill precinct, election workers reported that a woman was campaigning there for a relative, and that election officers asked her to leave.
Schwartz said she received a report from the Attorney General’s Office that someone had complained that a relative of one candidate was up at the Highland Park precinct with a sample ballot pointing to his nephew’s name.
Schwartz said she made a copy of the complaint, and sent it to the precinct workers there, who said nothing of that nature had occurred at that precinct.
“The caller’s name is on the complaint, but she doesn’t exist in Whitley County. She is not registered to vote. It doesn’t seem legit at all,” she noted.
Schwartz said she anticipates that there will probably be a request for a recanvass in at least one race.
In the race for Williamsburg Independent Board of Education, incumbents Allan Steely and Kim Broome White won re-election.
White was the highest vote getter in that race with 932 votes. Steely garnered 698 votes to edge out Kim Williams by five votes. She received 693 votes and Dwight Jones got 506 votes.
Local voters overwhelmingly gave their support to Republican presidential nominee John McCain and incumbent U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, who is the senate minority leader.
McCain picked up 10,014 votes to Democrat Barack Obama’s 3,484 votes in Whitley County.
Independent Ralph Nader received 118 votes, Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin received 35 votes and Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr got 52 votes.
McConnell picked up 8,484 votes to Democrat Bruce Lunsford’s 4,849 votes.
Both had visited Whitley County over the last few weeks stumping for votes with Lunsford making the latest stop on Halloween.
U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Somerset) picked up 10,658 votes to independent challenger Jim Holbert’s 2,077 votes.
State Rep. Charlie Siler was unopposed in his bid for re-election and received 10,637 votes in Whitley County.
Schwartz added that she would like to thank her staff and election workers.
Election workers began their day at the polls at 5 a.m., and didn’t leave there in most cases until about 7 p.m.
They then had to go to the county clerk’s office in Williamsburg to turn in vote totals and equipment.
She estimated that most probably didn’t leave her office until about 8 p.m.
Workers in Schwartz’s office were there longer than that. She estimated most wouldn’t leave until after 9 p.m., and she herself wouldn’t get home until about 10 p.m.