Eastern Ky. poll workers bring building and election security concerns to elections board

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 1:44 PM EST
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Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Perry County election workers Jenny Williams and Nancy Collins worked at the old Chavies Elementary School on Election Day in November.

They said the building did not have heat, enough voting spaces or an indoor restroom. Williams said she believes the building was unsuitable to use as a polling place.

”The bridge was washed out when I went there at 5:00 that morning, I hadn’t been out to Chavies for a while,” said Williams. “I turned, and thank goodness there was some pile ons there to stop me from driving into the creek.” “It took me a while to find the gravel road, to even find the building,” she added.

Gospel Light Baptist Church owns the building and property. Pastor and State Representative Chris Fugate told WYMT in a statement the building does have heat and the church has a Porta Potty outside because the flood washed away the church’s bridge and plumbing. The bridge has since been replaced.

Another issue they said is the building did not have adequate security to keep ballots safe. They added one solution was to have Fugate come to lock the building, but they felt that put him in awkward situation since his name was on the ballots.

”We stayed there until the clerk’s office found a way to find a moving truck and come and actually move the machines here to the courthouse,” Williams said. “Where they could be put under lock and key.”

Perry County Clerk Wayne Napier said 804 people voted at the super precinct. In regards to security, he said the building has security cameras and a retired state trooper was there around the clock.

”I take the machines out myself, I have someone hired to go with me, but I take them out myself and make sure everything is right,” said Napier.

”I actually called the State Board of Elections this morning, and they told me the way we worked it was fine,” he added. “There wasn’t a problem because we had the cameras, we had the security guard.”