2020 Kentucky Primary will go down as historic, expensive election

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 7:59 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Election officials are monitoring the results of Kentucky’s June 23rd primary as mail-in ballots are counted, but this primary will be remembered as one of the most unique elections in the Commonwealth’s history.

Originally scheduled for May, the primary was pushed back to last Tuesday, but lasted much longer to account for both mail-in and in-person voting.

One of the most watched races nationwide was the highly contested Democratic primary for U.S. Senate between Amy McGrath and Charles Booker.

At around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Associated Press called the race for McGrath.

The State Board of Elections says more than 848,000 absentee ballots were returned and more than 274,000 people voted in person, meaning 1.13 million people voted in this election, or 29 percent of registered voters.

Secretary of State Michael Adams says out of those, only around 800 absentee ballots had signature problems, several hundred of which could be corrected.

“The numbers that we are seeing for this election, are similar to what we saw in 2008, here’s why that is important,” said Secretary Adams. “In 2008, we still had an ongoing race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

Secretary Adams spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon about the primary.

The biggest challenge of voting during a pandemic is that communication is a major barrier.

“Every single one of those people had to be informed not just that they could vote absentee, but how to do it correctly. It’s a little complicated to sign those two envelopes in two different places” Adams said.

With so many people voting in this election, especially with the majority mailing in their ballots, what are the chances of this happening again come November?

Adams says things can change a lot in that time frame.

“So, over the summer, I’m to go assess what worked well, what didn’t work as well,” Adams said. “Look and see how much money we have left, what we had reserved. Make a recommendation to the Governor if that is necessary.”

Each election generally costs around $9 million, but Adams predicts the cost of this election could reach $12 million once all the invoices come in.

“The mail-in option is very very expensive,” Adams said. “Not just man-hours for clerks and their teams, but it’s also the postage, the printing.”

Adams says that one additional option besides mail-in would be to expand early voting, but says he will do whatever is responsible and protects public health.

Adams says he will be making a recommendation to Governor Beshear for the fall election, but he says he would like to see early in-person voting continue across Kentucky.

Copyright 2020 WYMT. All rights reserved.

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