general election

President-elect Joe Biden received a bigger turnout in the Ohio Valley in 2020 than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. So did his opponent Donald Trump.

In an election that saw historic levels of voting nationwide, Democrat Biden added 3.2% to Clinton’s 2016 vote share in the Ohio Valley while Republican Trump improved 2.4% on his 2016 turnout.

Biden’s increase in vote share outpacing Trump’s gains doesn’t mean that he outperformed Trump. If anything, Trump continued to do well in three states of Ohio Valley: Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. He bagged more than 60% of votes in Kentucky and West Virginia and had 53.3% of votes in Ohio, once a swing state.

The Missing Voters: The Ohio Valley Has Some Of The Nation’s Lowest Voter Turnout. What Could Change

Nov 2, 2020
Devine Carama

This fall, Lexington, Kentucky, activist and artist Devine Carama launched a different kind of road trip across his home state. He visited a dozen cities and towns, from Pikeville, in the state’s Appalachian east, to Paducah, near where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi. He carried a sign that said “I’ll walk 400 miles if you promise to vote.”

He wants to bring attention to what he says is the most important election of our lifetimes and to open up conversations about why people do or don’t vote. 

 

“That was another kind of, you know, motivational piece to this,” he said. “How can we inspire people to not just register, but actually go out and vote?”

 

 


Rick Murdock drives past his neighbors on rural back roads in southwest Calloway County, Kentucky, most days in his pickup truck, where he’ll pass by some signs of the season — “Trump 2020” flags and signs.

Murdock said he’s never been the type to put up signs or banners himself supporting a particular candidate — “I would not want to offend my brother, or my neighbor” — but he does consider himself to be a conservative, a Christian. He recalled a past Election Day when he took his then 8-year-old daughter with him to the voting booth to show her what the process was like. He voted for former President George W. Bush that year. 

 


Aaron Payne

  Christian County Clerk Mike Kem in western Kentucky has already seen COVID-19 enter his doors — three of his employees are currently isolated with the virus. 

Since his office is in charge of coordinating local elections in his county, he says that up-close experience with the virus has emphasized to him the importance of having people vote early in person this election. Simply put, if more people vote early, fewer people are likely to crowd in line on Election Day and risk COVID-19 exposure.

WKU Public Radio

Governors, Secretaries of State, and other state and local election officials throughout the Ohio Valley are preparing for an unprecedented election during a global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced local governments to change practices that have been the same for decades, and to do so in a highly charged political environment. 

Some of the main changes are safety precautions suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State officials in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia are ensuring residents feel comfortable voting in person if they choose to, while making adjustments for those who are concerned about contracting COVID-19.