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Fayette County Clerk concerned Primary voter turnout will be lower than a typical May Election

Fayette County Clerk-Election Night 2023
Stu Johnson
Fayette County Clerk-Election Night 2023

Primary Election 2024 is two weeks away and a central Kentucky voting official has some concerns about voter turnout. Primary voting in May is traditionally much lower than a General Election in November. But, Fayette County Clerk Susan Lamb is worried this could be smaller than usual. Lamb said at the end of last week 13 hundred absentee ballots had been requested with 300 returned.

“By this time you would think that we would at least be having two to three thousand and receiving at least half of those back. If this is any indication about the turnout for our Primary, I’m gonna be very sad and disappointed,” said Lamb.

Lamb said there are contested local, state, and federal races for Lexington Council, the State General Assembly, and U.S. Representative. The candidates for president are also on the ballot. In-person absentee voting at the Main Street Clerk’s Office begins this week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Six early voting centers will be situated at public library branches on May 16th, 17th, and 18th. Lamb said a state grant proved helpful in finalizing the early voting plan.

“We actually were able to get some grant fund from the State which allowed us to purchase some more equipment so that we could actually facilitate having these six early-voting locations and continue to have those same locations open on Election Day,” said Lamb.

While state caucuses earlier this year resulted in President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump securing spots, Lamb said it’s still important for Kentuckians to weigh-in on the presidential race along with the other contested races. The County clerk noted the costs associated with putting on a Primary don't change much when it comes to voter turnout. She added if turnout is low, as it appears to be headed, that could require the shredding of unused ballots.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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