Voters In Louisville Are Forced To Cast Their Ballots At The Only Polling Site In The City Of 600,000 People
The lack of polling sites has brought additional attention to the Democratic Senate primary.
June 23, 2020 at 8:22 pm
All eyes are on Kentucky during Tuesday's primary election as voters are being forced to cast their ballots at the only polling site in some cities.
CBC reported that just days before the primaries, a federal judge denied a request to add more polling locations.
Two of the state's most populous counties — Fayette and Jefferson, which include Lexington and Lousiville respectively — only have one polling site each. The polling locations are included in the 170 sites opened statewide, which is down from about 3,700 during a typical voting year, CNN reported.
The city of Louisville has a population of approximately 600,000 people with roughly 24% of the population being made up of Black people, according to the U.S. Census.
Federal Judge Charles R. Simpson III said on Thursday the circumstances surrounding the reduced number of polling sites do not impede people's ability to vote, highlighting the state's expanded absentee and early in-person voting.
The Kentucky Secretary of State's Office told The Hill that 867,311 mail-in ballots have been issued statewide and that about half of them have been returned.
In Lexington, the state's second-largest city, voters were directed to the University of Kentucky's football stadium to cast their ballots.
The limited voting sites in the state bring additional attention to the already competitive Democratic U.S. Senate primary. Tuesday's election will determine who will face incumbent Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November's general election.
Charles Booker, a potential Democratic Senate candidate, said his campaign would be keeping a "watchful eye" on the results, The New York Times reported.
“There should not have only been one location,” Booker said. “That will just naturally disenfranchise folks.”
Republican State Rep. Jason Nemes seems to agree that the election results could trigger questions of integrity and validity.
“If Charles Booker barely loses, I think the integrity of that election is in question,” Nemes said on Monday.
Booker, who is Black, is going up against the presumed frontrunner Amy McGrath. McGrath attempted to call for additional polling sites ahead of the primary election and pushed to extend the deadline to request absentee ballots.
Voter suppression is no longer billy clubs & Jim Crow. It’s closed polling sites + 6 hr waits w/o pay. COVID is no excuse.— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) June 20, 2020
Who needs to vote in person? The disabled. The homeless or displaced. Voters w/language barriers. Folks who didn’t get their ballots in time. Americans. https://t.co/i0H764SGYo
"Voter suppression is no longer billy clubs & Jim Crow. It's closed polling sites + 6 hr waits w/o pay," she wrote.
The state of Georgia saw long lines during the primary election with wait times as long as 10 hours, The Times reported.