Election expert breaks down Kentucky 2020 races and looks ahead to November

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 11:08 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - This year’s election saw several changes brought on by a global pandemic and racial tensions.

Charles Booker’s momentum made the U.S. Senate race’s turnout extremely close, and the way Kentuckians voted, many at their kitchen table, shook things up.

Kentucky’s primary election raked in a record-breaking more than one million votes, but University of Kentucky law professor Joshua A. Douglas says the turnout was low.

“We’re celebrating record turnout in terms of total number of voters, and yet that still only represents well less than half of the total eligible electorate,” he said.

Douglas says Kentucky typically sees a low turnout in primaries, but thinks in this election, it was easier to vote than ever before. He says distance is everything for a voter.

“Having one polling place per county, it didn’t cause the massive lines that some out-of-state celebrities were predicting, but it does cause problems with respect to transportation,” Douglas said.

Those celebrities he’s referring to are the ones who shared “All Eyes on Kentucky.” The social media campaign claimed Jefferson County having a single polling location was voter suppression. Douglas says the post doesn’t take into account all of the numbers.

“What that national conversation said to me is that demonstrated how quickly misinformation can spread, this time it was mostly from people on the left, who were spouting this information about one polling place per 600,000 voters without the actual facts,” he said.

Facts like the number of people who requested an absentee ballot, the two early voting locations and the fact that not every Kentuckian will vote.

Douglas does have recommendations for November, though.

“I’m hopeful they’ll be no excuse absentee balloting, with an easy to use online portal to request your ballot, I’m hopeful for early voting,” he said.

He’s also advocating for early voting, with no appointment necessary, and more polling places. He admits those come at a price.

“These things cost money, I know there’s concern about the length of the ballot in November and the printing costs of the lengthy ballot, but I think those printing costs are going to be worth it to make it easy to vote in this election,” he said.

He’s hoping to see another bipartisan agreement for a smooth November election.

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