2020 Kentucky primary

Becca Schimmel | WKU Public Radio

Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath has won Kentucky’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and will take on Mitch McConnell in the fall after a close race with progressive state Rep. Charles Booker.

The results came in a week after Kentucky’s primary election, allowing local election officials to count mail-in ballots, which accounted for about three-quarters of all votes submitted during election.

Booker garnered a majority of votes in the state’s two most populous counties, Jefferson and Fayette, winning by more than 35,000 votes in his hometown of Louisville.

WKU Public Radio

It's one week after Kentucky's delayed primary election, and county clerks' offices across the state are reporting their vote counts to the Kentucky Secretary of State. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every registered voter was allowed to request an absentee ballot that could be returned through the mail. Counting all of those ballots, plus early votes cast at local county clerks' offices, and votes cast at polling places on primary day. 

1:14 p.m.: There were a number of Kentucky House and Senate seats on primary ballots this month, including a Senate district special election to replace a retiring lawmaker. Here are the results:

Senate District 26 Special Election: Karen Berg, a Democrat and a physician, has won the special election for Kentucky’s 26th Senate district, which was vacated by longtime GOP Sen. Ernie Harris, who retired earlier this year.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s primary election on Tuesday went pretty smoothly, despite claims from national celebrities and politicians that there would be widespread chaos as a result of having fewer in-person polling places in the state.

But even though it appears there was record voter turnout during the election, there were still some problems.

Voters in Lexington had to wait in line for up to two hours at the city’s only polling place. And though every Kentucky voter was allowed to cast a ballot by mail, some said they never received one (those voters were allowed to cast a ballot in person as long as they “canceled” their absentee ballot).

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams made the changes to Kentucky’s election processes in response to the coronavirus pandemic, in an attempt to reduce voters’ and poll workers’ exposure on primary day.

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."


Kevin Willis

While the phrase “All Eyes on Kentucky” was trending on primary election day, voters here in Kentucky will have to keep watching for another week to see who won.

Typically, the State Board of Elections will announce preliminary results the day votes are cast. This year, however, results will be made public on June 30. This is part of Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams’ agreement to expand mail-in voting in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading inside crowded polling locations.

WKU Public Radio

Voters filed in to polling places across Kentucky on Tuesday to cast ballots during the state’s primary election, with initial estimates pointing to a record high voter turnout.

Final results of the election will be released in coming days as officials count mail-in ballots, which all Kentucky voters had the opportunity to cast this year in an effort to reduce exposure to the coronavirus.

And despite warnings from national political figures about chaos at the polls, things went pretty smoothly in Kentucky, though the election did have its hiccups.

Kevin Willis

It’s primary election day in Kentucky, and voter turnout across the state is expected to hit record levels. That’s due in part to the expansion of voting by absentee ballot. Most counties across the Commonwealth only have one polling location.

Kentucky Sec. of State Predicting Record-Breaking Turnout

Kentucky Sec. of State Michael Adams is predicting 1.1 million Kentuckians will cast a vote in today’s primary election. That would be about 32% of registered voters, which would break the state’s record for voter participation set in 2008.

Progressives are mounting efforts to best establishment Democrats in Kentucky and New York Tuesday.

Black Lives Matter protests around the country have added energy to the left, and Black progressives are surging in contests in both states.

In Kentucky, the race between the two leading Democrats vying for the right to likely take on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is coming down to the wire. All the momentum is on the side of state Rep. Charles Booker over Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot with a lot of money and the party's backing.

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Lebron James, Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams and several other national figures say they’re worried that Kentucky will have too few polling places during the state’s primary elections on Tuesday, leading to voter suppression. But local election officials and experts say their fears are overblown.

Most Kentucky counties will only have one polling location after officials expanded mail-in voting to all eligible voters during the coronavirus pandemic.

In turn, local election officials reduced the number of in-person polling sites to reduce the number of poll workers who could be exposed to the virus and encourage people to vote by mail.

WFPL news

For many in the Ohio Valley, voting is a choice, a right they are free to exercise if they want to. But for Jackie McGranahan and the more than 175,000 other formerly disenfranchised Kentuckians, this primary election is special. It’s her first chance to vote since 2008. 

She won't be going to a voting booth. Elections are a bit different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and most voting in Kentucky is happening by mail. But even though she couldn’t go to the polls with her friends or be handed her ‘I Voted’ sticker, that didn’t stop McGranahan from savoring the moment of voting.

“I filled out the absentee ballot. I signed my name and I waited for my postman to come so I could hand it to him directly from my porch to know that my vote will be counted, that I have a voice,” McGranahan said.


Becca Schimmel | WKU Public Radio

Amy McGrath was the first woman to fly an F/A-18 fighter jet in combat. She flew 89 missions during her 20-year military career, worked as a foreign affairs adviser in Congress, then worked in the Pentagon and finally became a Naval Academy instructor.

To top off her impressive credentials, at age 13 she wrote Mitch McConnell to ask that he help undo the federal policy that banned women from fighting in combat.

But, as she said in her campaign announcement last summer, “he never wrote back.”

 


Lisa Autry

Kentuckians head to the polls on Tuesday to select party nominees for the presidency and U.S. Senate, as well as some state legislative seats. 

The June 23 primary is fitting for 2020:  unconventional in every way.  The coronavirus postponed the election by more than a month and changed how most voters will cast their ballot.

Kevin Mays works as a chief financial officer in Bowling Green. He’s been voting for more than 30 years, but this will be the first time he’s not voted on election day. Mays and his family recently voted absentee for the first time.

WKU Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky’s most populous counties will not have more than one polling location during the upcoming primary elections.

The decision comes after a lawsuit filed by state Rep. Jason Nemes, a Republican from Louisville, which sought to add more polling locations in five of the state’s most populous counties.

Most Kentucky counties, including Jefferson County, will only have one polling location. All voters were allowed to cast ballots by mail ahead of Kentucky’s primary elections, which will take place on June 23.

Facebook/M.H. Vaught

Pulaski County is having a strong response from voters for the June 23 primary election, with both mail-in ballots and walk-in voting.

Election Coordinator Mark Vaught said the county has already had more than 2,600 walk-in voters.

He said he's taken an extra step to make sure voters who walk in to cast a ballot are safe during this time of COVID-19.

He said the additional safety precaution is because people sign the electronic poll book with their finger.


Amy McGrath

Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath has filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit demanding more in-person polling locations in Kentucky’s most populous counties.

Most Kentucky counties will only have one polling location for the June 23 primaries after mail-in voting was expanded to all eligible voters in Kentucky to prevent long lines during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Republican state Rep. Jason Nemes and McGrath has asked to join the challenge, arguing that the current scheme restricts citizens’ right to vote.

“As has been seen in the other states that have restricted the number of polling sites, it is expected that lines in the populous Kentucky counties that are only providing a single voting location will be excessively long, leading many who intended to vote in-person to abstain from voting at all,” the lawsuit states.

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