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Almost as many Shelby Countians showed up at the polls to send Gov. Steve Beshear back to office as helped elect him four years ago.
More than a third of the registered voters turned out – 39 percent – falling short of Shelby County Clerk Sue Carole Perry’s prediction of 50 percent but surpassing the 30 percent statewide and nearly equaling the 40 percent of Shelby Countians who voted in 2007.
“We kind of got off to a slow start, but things really picked up during the day,” she said. “Whenever we would check in with our precinct officers, they would say they didn’t expect to be busy, but [that] they were.”
Perry reported that out of Shelby County’s 26,992 registered voters, 10,384 of them hit the polls.
The trend toward a solid flow of voters began shortly after polls opened at 6 a.m.
“I was a little off [in prediction], but overall, I was pleased,” she said.
Beverly Worley, a worker at precinct D105, at Shelby County Fire Station No. 1 on Alpine Drive, said at 6:15 a.m. that she had had 15 people ready to vote as soon as the door opened.
“That’s typical, so we’re right on schedule so far,” she said.
Workers at the Simpsonville Community Center said they too had a line waiting when they arrived to open the doors.
But Susan Reynolds, a worker at D103, the Stratton Center, said just before 7 a.m. that things were a little slow there.
“We are down a little here, and I know that was expected, but I always say, if you don’t vote, you lose your right to complain,” she said.
One voter there, Matt Salmons, said he always votes, but even if he had been inclined to vote before, he was compelled not to miss going to the polls after hearing about a comment the Republican candidate for governor, state Sen. David Williams (R-Burkesville) had made – a comment he found highly offensive.
He was referring Williams’ recent blasting of Gov. Steve Beshear for participating in a religious ceremony with a Hindu priest at the groundbreaking of a factory in Elizabethtown.
“He shot himself in the foot with that one,” Salmons said.
Perry reported only one technical glitch on Election Day, which came early in the day at precinct F101 at Simpsonville Elementary.
“Only about a dozen people had come through when the voting machine jammed,” she said. “It was human error. They [precinct workers] didn’t tear the ballots off and it just jammed.
“But we got it straightened out pretty quick. But it would have been O.K. in any case, because we have two machines at every precinct.”
Perry said that in years past, her office paid a tech person to be on standby in case a problem should arise, which happened rarely.
“Then, when something did happen, he would get on the phone with the company in Lexington, and they would talk him through it,” she said. “So I got to thinking, I’m not going to pay somebody to do that anymore – I can do that myself.”
Since then, only two technical problems have cropped up, which she handled herself.
“It was no problem,” she said, “and it didn’t cost the county a dime.”
The day yielded less disgruntled voters than usual, Perry said, although one person in particular made up for it.
“There was a man at one of the precincts who made quite a fuss about having to show his identification,” she said. “He said he has been living here for 13 years, but they [precinct workers] did not recognize him. If a precinct officer knows you personally, you do not have to show an I.D., but no one knew him, and he was really upset about that.”
Another man was agitated because he thought he was registered, and was not, and still another lady had to be directed to her correct precinct, though she was not upset, Perry said.
“We usually take phone calls all day from people who want to make sure where they need to go, and we don’t mind that, that’s good that people do that,” she said. “One of our precinct officers had a lady that was at the wrong precinct, but she kept insistently she was not.
“She said she had voted at the same place every time, but when the precinct officer checked and told her where she needed to go, she said, ‘Oh, that’s right! Now I remember.’ But other than that, things have run pretty smooth.”
Fred LeCompte, a precinct officer at E101 at West Middle School, agreed.
“Everyone has been very nice and we have not have any problems here,” he said, watching as voters trickled into the school’s lobby, where the two voting machines and three voting cubicles awaited voters.
“I was here last time, too, and it’s been going well.”