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Republicans continue surge in registrations

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Democrats still switching parties

By Lisa King

The official voter registration numbers for next month’s Primary Election are not yet available, but early reports indicate the migration of Democratic voters to the Republican rolls in Shelby County has continued.

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The most recent report received by Shelby County Clerk Sue Carole Perry from the state board of elections, which is complete through March, showed there were 26,662 registered voters in Shelby County, with the Democrats’ hold as the dominating party down to little more than  4,000 registrants.

There were 14,504 who registered as Democrats and 10,341 as Republicans. Non-affiliated voters were at 1,817. There were 1,736 more women registered than men.

Those numbers could change slightly because registration for the primary ended on April 18.

“April 18 was the deadline to register to vote in Shelby County, and before the election, we will get a statistical report, which will be up to date on how many registered voters we have, how many Republicans, how many Democrats, how many women and how many men,” Perry said.

“There’s not going to be a whole lot of big changes since the last one we got because we haven’t had a big rush of people come in to register.”

Though the total number of registered voters has remained relatively flat since 2009 – 26,359 to 26,662 –the number of registered Democrats has declined by about 500 while the number of Republicans has risen by nearly 1,000.

“They’re changing their parties,” Perry said.

She said Shelby County used to be primarily a Democratic county, and in fact in 2010 Republican registration topped 10,000 for the first time.

“We didn’t have that many Republicans,” she said. “As a matter of fact, the very first time that I ran, we didn’t even have a Republican primary.”

County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger, who is running for agriculture commissioner on the Republican ticket, said that he believes that for years a lot of people were Republicans at heart but were registered Democrats.

“They had to vote Democrat to have any impact in local races, and that has really turned around now; because now, a lot of the Democratic primaries are either unopposed, or they  just don’t have a candidate,” he said. “Look at the state race, all of the statewide offices, the Republicans have four primaries, and the Democrats, two or three.

“The big names on the Democratic side won’t even appear on the ballot this spring, like the governor and the attorney general. Kentucky has always voted very conservatively, especially at the federal level, and that trend is starting to trickle down to the state and local level.”

Fielding E. Ballard III, Democratic Party chair for Shelby County, had this to say about the trend:

“You just have to take a look at the whole climate of the nation, and you’re probably going to see the pendulum start swinging back with the things that have been occurring in the past few months politically.

“People are going to start realizing what each political party stands for. I think it’s becoming clear that the Democratic Party stands for the working class, and they’re the only party that is going to be standing up for the working class.”

The primary on May 17 will feature only statewide races – such as battle between state Rep. David Williams and Louisville businessman Phil Moffett for governor – and Rothenburger is the only candidate from Shelby County involved.

Perry said that for those people who are new to Shelby County, the law says you have to live in your voting precinct for 30 days before you can vote there.

 

Precinct officers needed

Perry said she also wants the public to know that precinct officers are badly needed for the Primary Election.

“We have thirty-four precincts, and we need four per precinct, plus alternates,” she said.

Precinct officers get paid $100 for working Election Day and receive $15 for a one-time training session.

Potential workers must attend one of three upcoming training sessions – May 5, 10 and 12.

“It’s not absolutely necessary, but we like for people to work in their own precinct because otherwise they would have to vote absentee,” Perry said. “Also, they would need to be there on Election Day no later than five-thirty [a.m.], and they need to bring their lunch because they can’t leave. The polls close at six o’clock, and as soon as they get their machine tallied out and closed up, they’re free to go.”

For more information about being a precinct officer, call the county clerk’s office at 633-4410.

 

Voter registration numbers for last 3 years:

• 2009: Republicans 9,440, Democrats 15,181, Other 1,738,  Total 26,359

• 2010: Republicans 9,572, Democrats 14,498, Other 1,686,  Total 25,756

• 2011: Republicans 10,341, Democrats 14,504, Other 1,817, Total 26,662

 

Voter registration numbers for last 3 years:

• 2009: Republicans 9,440, Democrats 15,181, Other 1,738,  Total 26,359

• 2010: Republicans 9,572, Democrats 14,498, Other 1,686,  Total 25,756

• 2011: Republicans 10,341, Democrats 14,504, Other 1,817, Total 26,662