Officials expect a smooth Election Day

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Challengers appointed by McConnell campaign will be in 8 precincts

By Lisa King

With Tuesday just around the corner, election officials say they are ready for the 2014 Primary Election, mostly, that is.

Shelby County Clerk Sue Carol Perry said that her office is ready to roll with new precincts in place, voting machines primed and every detail in place except for one thing – there still are not enough precinct officers.

“I’m working on that now, and I’m just really disappointed,” she said. “I’ve got from seventeen to nineteen slots [open], so we’ll have several precincts working with just three people. What’s so aggravating is that there were about nineteen that didn’t even call to say they weren’t working, and I didn’t know it until the last training until they didn’t show up.”

Perry said the presence of election challengers may complicate things since several precincts are going to be shorthanded as it is and precinct officers must work one on one with challengers.

Challengers can select any voter that enters a precinct, and request that the voter sign an affidavit stating that they are an eligible voter in that district.

They must get the precinct worker’s help in filling out a form to be filled out by the voter being challenged, she said.

Perry said she has no idea why the Republican Party chose this particular election to send out challengers, something has never happened in her 30 plus years as county clerk.

“The Republican Party has appointed challengers; they can challenge people’s right to vote and they have never done that before [in Shelby],” she said. “If a candidate or a party wants to, they can appoint challengers, and a challenger can go to the polls and challenge your right to vote. According to the law, they just would have to tell the precinct officer that they want to challenge their [citizen’s] right to vote.”

Perry said the idea behind having challengers is make sure the election process is above board and that no one votes who isn’t supposed to.

“As far as I’m concerned, they’re wasting their time [in Shelby] because we do everything according to the law,” she said. “In some counties, you hear about people voting that shouldn’t be allowed to vote, but that doesn’t happen here.”

Eric Lycan, counsel for incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign, whose campaign the challengers belong to, said that they aren’t coming out to the polls on Tuesday to challenge anyone’s right to vote.

“Challengers is an unfortunate name, but that’s what the statute calls them,” he said. “What we are going to ask them to do is just to observe the vote, and they are just going to basically aid us in voter turnout as part of our Get Out and Vote effort. The statute specifically allows these observers, and again, it calls them challengers, unfortunately, to create voter check-off lists. As someone comes in to vote, we record that they have voted. Obviously, we don’t know who they voted for, so we can’t record that, but we record that they did vote. In our Get Out and Vote effort, we record that that person has voted, so we focus our efforts on other voters. So we continue down our call list and call those voters who haven’t yet voted.”

Lycan said that though the procedure has not been done before in Shelby County, it is more widespread in other areas.

“This is not a new thing at all,” he said. “It’s new in many counties in Kentucky; in presidential battleground states, this is a matter of course. I’ve had experience with it in many counties in Kentucky, as well.”

Lycan said that there are only eight challengers coming to Shelby County on Tuesday because that’s all that would volunteer for the task.

“If we could have an observer in every single precinct to increase voter turnout, we would, and hopefully we’ll get there someday, but just not yet,” he said.

Shelby County Attorney Hart Megibben said the practice of having challengers was approved by state law in Kentucky in 1990.

Each party may appoint up to two challengers per precinct. There will be one challenger each at the following precincts: Persimmon Ridge, West Finchville, South Simpsonville, Southville, Marshall Doaks, North Shelby, Todds Point and West Bagdad.

Challengers have to undergo the same training as precinct officers and Megibben, who is one of the instructors at those training sessions, said challengers may not approach voters directly.

“Under KRS, if they want to challenge a voter’s right to vote, they have to make that challenge known to the precinct officer, who then informs the voter of that, and has them fill out an oath of voter form, where they swear they are eligible to vote,” he said. “The challenger also signs that form and must also indicate the reason that they challenged that person’s ability to vote.”


Smooth Election Day expected

Other than a shortage of precinct workers, Perry said the only other concern she has is that some people, despite having gotten notices in the mail, still might go to the wrong place to cast their votes.

That’s because magisterial redistricting caused half of the county’s voting precincts to be redrawn, effective this election.

“There were seventeen precincts affected,” she said. “We sent everybody cards telling them about the precinct changes. But I think there’ll still be a problem because some people don’t read things carefully; also it was a postcard, and people get so much junk mail that there might be some people who wouldn’t have know what it was and accidentally thrown it away.”

Perry said most of the precincts affected are in the north western and southwestern part of the county.

“If they’re not sure, they can always go call the office before they vote,” she said.

Perry said she expects the turnout to be from 30 to 40 percent this year.

Of the county’s 28,981 registered voters, 14,984 are Democrats and 11,614 are Republican; 2,213 are registered as “other.”

Republican Party Chair Jennifer Decker said she could not really make a clear prediction of voter turnout for the Republican Party.

“This is a very high profile race, so I hope it’s [turnout] high,” she said. “I know that Republicans are excited to be having primaries in Shelby County. I’ve seen a lot of interest in the primary locally, and I expect that Republicans will have a bigger turnout because of the local primaries and the high profile race.”

Democratic Party Chair Fielding Ballard said he did not expect a large showing at the polls Tuesday from local Democrats.

“It’s probably not going to be real heavy, because the only Democratic primary that is there is the U.S. senate race [along with the constable race in District 1],” he said. “That’s the only one, so there’s just not a whole lot moving people to get out on the Democratic side except for the Grimes’ supporters. But when you talk about the entire turnout, it’s probably not going to be real great.”



2014 Election

Primary Election: May 20

Deadline to file for Nov. non-Partisan races: Aug. 12

General Election:Nov. 4


Primary Candidates

U.S. Senator:Mitch McConnell (R), Matt Bevin (R), Gurley Martin (R), Alison Grimes (D)

State Senate Dist. 20:Paul Hornback (R), Tony McCurdy (R)

Family Court Judge, District 53:(Non-partisan) John David Myles, Marie Hellard, Susan M. Meschler

Shelby County Fiscal Court:District 2 Mark McCall (R) and Michael Riggs (R); Mike Miller (R) and Tim Willard (R); (D); District 7, Doug Butler (R), Danny Eades (R) and Stephen McGill (R)

Shelby County Sheriff: Stewart Shirley (R), Bruce Gentry (R), Steven Ladden (R)

Constables: District 1, James Tingle (D), Bobby Ivers (D);


General Election Candidates

U.S. House District 4:Thomas Massie (R)

State House Dist. 53:Brad Montell (R)

State Supreme Court District 6:(Non-partisan) Teresa Cunningham, Michelle Keller

Appellate District 6:(Non-partisan) Allison Jones, Justin Sanders, Joy A. Moore

Circuit Judge, District 53:(Non-partisan) Charles Hickman

District Judge, District 53:Part 1, Laura Donnell, J.R. RoBards; Part 2, Donna Dutton, Emily Farrar-Crockett

Shelby County Judge-Executive: Rob Rothenburger (R)

Shelby County Fiscal Court: District 1, Hubert Pollett (D); District 3, Matthew Samples (D); District 4, Bill Hedges (R); District 5, Eddie Kingsolver (D); District 6, Tony Carriss (D); District 7, Edward Doyle (D)

Shelby County Clerk: Sue Carole Perry (D)

Shelby County Attorney: Hart Megibben (R)

Shelby County Sheriff: Mike Armstrong (D),

Shelby County Jailer: Bobby Waits (D)

Shelby County Coroner: Ron Waldridge (R)

Shelby County Surveyor: George Best (R)

PVA: Brad McDowell (D)

Shelbyville Mayor: Tom Hardesty (D)

Shelbyville City Council: Bob Andriot (R), Donna Eaton (D), Troy Ethington (R), D. Scott Harper (R), Jon Swindler (R), Shane Suttor (D), Mike Zoeller (D), Frank Page (R), Norris Beckley (D)

Constables:District 2, Colonel James Karas (R), 4, Donnie Bruner (D); District 6, Gary Tindle (D), District 7, Harold Sutton (D)

Soil Board: (non-partisan) No filings until August

School Board: (non-partisan) No filings until August

Simpsonville City Commission: (Non partisan) No filings until August