Officials’ predictions for voter turnout came to fruition for the recent general election, with 17,489 people, or 33.38 percent of Christian County’s 52,391 registered voters, going to the polls on Tuesday.
“We were all confident it would be anywhere between 30 and 35 percent,” observed Melinda Humphries, election coordinator. “Some precincts were well over that.”
In Todd County, 48.51 percent of that county’s 8,621 registered voters cast ballots in the midterm elections, while 48.78 percent of Trigg County’s 12,139 registered voters went to the polls.
Across the state, 47.38 percent, or 1.6 million, of Kentucky’s 3.4 million voters cast ballots, according to information on the Kentucky State Board of Elections website at elect.ky.gov.
Humphries said Tuesday’s election was among the top five busiest her office has seen, and she said it was encouraging to see people voting, making for a good day at the polls.
“A lot of the things we saw more so than anything else was the younger people showing up to vote,” she said, explaining that it was good to see voters younger than 40 actually cast their ballots.
“It was encouraging to see younger people at the different polling locations I saw,” said Humphries, who works in the Christian County clerk’s office. “Just seeing them exercising their right, it is encouraging because maybe it’s something they’ll do in future elections.”
Humphries said it’s very common to see people in their 40s and older turning out to vote, but not so with people younger than that.
Percentage-wise, the 2018 general election was on a par with what it was four years ago, when there were 46,043 registered voters in the county and 15,316 of those people went to the polls.
That too represented 33 percent of registered voters who cast their ballots in 2014, Humphries said.
She some of the county’s 41 precincts did well in terms of voter turnout; at Southside Church of Christ, for example, 440 of that precinct’s 886 registered voters cast their ballots, while 944 of the 1,732 registered voters at Sinking Fork cast their ballots.
Humphries also considered 2019, another election year in Kentucky when a new governor will be chosen, and she said governor’s races are traditionally among the lowest when it comes to voter turnout.
“I wish we would have a good turnout,” she said.
She pointed to the impact of Fort Campbell in this year’s races and noted that Fort Campbell, whose three precincts include the post and surrounding Oak Grove, pulls the voting numbers down.
Those three precincts have 12,900 registered voters, but only 745 cast their ballots in the 2018 general election. Those residents are only there a few years, Humphries noted, and it is up to them to notify officials that they no longer want to be registered to vote in Christian County. If they don’t it takes about 10 years — the length of two presidential elections and two inactive years — to purge them from voter rolls.
Humphries says Fort Campbell voters are more concerned with presidential races since local races often don’t affect them, and so those precincts typically see voter increases in a presidential election.
She said officials will continue to register Fort Campbell voters, and Humphries noted that the sacrifices of those soldiers and their families are appreciated.
Trigg County Clerk Carmen Finley said she saw a high voter turnout in her community, where there was a lot of interest in the local election and a lot of names on the ballot.
“It was quite unusual with the number of people who came to the polls,” Finley observed of what was a busy day at the county’s 15 precincts. “We just had a really good voter turnout.”
In Todd County, that community’s 13 precincts saw a pretty good mix of younger and older voters, with both men and women casting their ballots at the polls, said Cindy O’Bryan, Todd County clerk.
O’Bryan said she was appreciative of all the people who came out to vote, and she said it turned out to be a good, safe day for everyone to vote.
“We were really thankful for the weather that got people out,” O’Bryan noted. “That’s what made the decision for the people who got in office. We had a really good day.”
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