Turnout higher so far in Fayette, mail-in envelop mistakes highlighted

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Despite the coronavirus pandemic and major changes to the election process, Fayette County voters aren’t deterred.

In fact, if early numbers are any indication, more people will vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries in two weeks than did four years ago when both presidential primaries were contested.

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That’s not the case this year with the later primary. Only U.S. Senate and congressional races are generating much attention. And the Democratic Senate primary between front-runner Amy McGrath, state Rep. Charles Booker who started a $400,000 advertising campaign this week and picked up the endorsement of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and Mike Broihier attracting the most attention because of the increase in television advertising.

With mail-in voting this year, that race and others could push up vote totals because of the ease of elections.

“Four years ago, we voted 60,000 people in person in that primary and it was a contested primary. This one is largely less contested. We already got 67,000 ballot requests so we have turned out heavier in this election and we’re not even close to finished,” said Fayette Circuit Clerk Don Blevins, whose office oversees elections in the county. “So we are very proud of Lexington for doing what they need to do.”

Voters have until midnight June 15 to request mail-in ballots.

In-person voting in advance for senior citizens can be set up by calling Blevins’ office. That will be done at a senior center.

On election day, in-person voting will be at Kroger Field, Gates  10 and 11 on the southside. Starting Monday, mail-in ballots can be dropped off there at Gate 9.

Voting is being done at the UK stadium rather than the courthouse and individual precincts to better manage health and safety standards and to not expose poll workers, many of whom fall into the older vulnerable population, to potential coronavirus.

While the turnout has been good so far, election officials want to make sure voters properly fill out their ballots and sign both envelops. If they aren’t properly signed, they won’t be counted.

Blevins said election officials are receiving several dozen ballots a day that aren’t properly signed. Most of the mistakes are made by not signing the outside return ballot.