While official results of Kentucky’s primary election won’t be known until early next week, both parties are calling the voting process a win.
Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams says Kentucky offered the nation a model for success in conducting an election during a pandemic.
"I’m proud of the resilient Kentucky voters who refused to let a virus disenfranchise them," Adams said in a statement. "While in so many categories Kentucky remains near the bottom, today Kentucky is first in something – conducting elections, even under extreme circumstances, and exhibiting grace under pressure."
Despite the challenges of fewer poll workers and polling precincts, a record number of Kentuckians cast a primary ballot. Ben Self, chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party, credits turnout to mail-in and no-excuse early voting.
“I think it just goes to show when you make it easier for people to participate in democracy, more people will participate in democracy, and I think that’s a really good thing," Self told WKU Public Radio.
Self says he’d like to see mail-in and no-excuse early voting continue for the November election. If there’s a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, Kentuckians could face a similar process in November. In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Adams said he and Gov. Andy Beshear are already making plans for the general election.
"We're going to see how absentee and in-person balloting goes and we're going to learn some lessons for November. We may not change anything for November or we may change different things for November," Adams said. "It's got to be a joint decision. Under the law, he and I have to agree to whatever the default is, which would be a traditional election."
For the primary, the state reduced the number of polling places from 3,700 to 170, including just one in each of the state’s two largest counties, Jefferson and Fayette. Self adds that he hopes to see more locations for the November election, which could produce twice as many voters at the polls.
A federal judge ruled against a lawsuit which sought to add more polling locations in five of the state’s most populous counties.
Due to mail-in absentee ballots still being counted, official results of the primary won’t be released until Tuesday, June 30.