With mail-in voting, state on pace for record primary turnout

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Based on numbers through noon Monday, Kentucky is on pace for a record turnout for Tuesday’s Republican and Democratic primaries.

And much of that may be attributed to the convenience of mail-in voting, which was implemented this year in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

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And if voters do decide to vote the old-fashioned way at a polling place Tuesday, they may see some National Guardsmen who are helping to limit the exposure of some older poll workers, who may be vulnerable to the disease, from potentially being exposed.

During his daily briefing Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said a number of counties have asked for the Guard’s help. Anderson, Shelby, Woodford and several others in the area are among those who has asked for help.

According to numbers provided by Beshear, 888,054 people have requested mail-in ballots. So far, 452,305 of them have been returned. Another 88,350 other people have voted in-person already.

Those numbers compare to 664,738 in the primary in 2019, 806,351 in the primary in 2018 and 669,678 who voted in the 2016 primary.

“I believe we are on our way to having a record number of people vote in the primary,” Beshear said, reminding people that mail-in ballots must be postmarked by June 23 to be counted.

“It looks like it will be the largest number of people voting in at least a decade,” he added.

While it’s not his decision, Beshear said he would hope the state Board of Elections would consider using some of the same tools such as mail-in ballot and no-excuse in-person voting in the November elections.

“If the turnout is higher than ever, I hope the Board of Elections will consider it in November,” Beshear said.