It’s been four days since the Tuesday primary election, and ballots are still being transported from the Hopkinsville Post Office to the Christian County Clerk’s Office to be scanned in and counted.
Conveniently, the two offices are less than a mile from one another, and Postmaster Robert Gentry and Elections Coordinator Melinda Humphries are working to get every ballot in before the Tuesday deadline.
“We talk daily,” Gentry said of the coordination between him and Humphries.
“We were getting buckets of ballots even on Election Day,” Humphries said. “We had quite a few yesterday, and today, we only had one bag of ballots.”
Humphries said the process is secure from beginning to end, as did Susan Wright, corporate communications staffer for the U.S. Postal Service.
“The U.S. Mail remains a secure, efficient and effective means for citizens and campaigns to participate in the electoral process, and the Postal Service is proud of our role as an important component of the nation’s democratic process,” Wright said via email.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the primary election was handled a lot differently than previous elections. Specifically, absentee voting was opened up to anyone who wanted to vote via mail-in ballot or early in-person voting at the old Christian County Courthouse.
Along with mailing the ballot back in, voters had the option to drop their absentee ballot in drop box at the courthouse, at the sheriff’s office or directly at the post office.
Humphries said thousands of absentee ballots were requested and sent out to voters who wanted to avoid in-person voting Tuesday.
“We have scanned everything in that we know is accountable and that was received here by (June 23),” Humphries said. “Now we’re accumulating ballots that were received after the 23rd but postmarked the 23rd.”
Along with cross checking each ballot with a list and numbered batch, Humphries said Christian County Sheriff Tyler DeArmond delivered every ballot to the post office to be mailed out, and Gentry delivered each batch of returned ballots back to the clerk’s office.
With in-person and absentee voting combined, Humphries has calculated 8,870 people in Christian County voted in Tuesday’s primary.
“That’s still not our highest, but that’s a positive return on ballots,” Humphries said.
Humphries said she looked at turnout over the past 20 years, starting with the 2000 primary and general elections, and the highest in the 20-year span was the 2008 primary, with 9,546 voters.
“That 2008 general was also one of our highest with 22,000 voters,” she said.
As far as November, Humphries said no one is sure what to expect, but she expects a large turnout because of what’s on the General Election ballot.
“You’ll have the presidential race, the Senate race and city of Hopkinsville council and mayor,” she said. “We’re going to anticipate well into 25,000 and 30,000 in November.”
The clerk’s office must submit all ballots to the Secretary of State’s Office by 6 p.m. Tuesday. Winners of each primary election will be announced Tuesday.