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Waiting for the count: Absentee ballots put election results on hold

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

Carter County Clerk Mike Johnston’s office counted the ballots returned last Tuesday from the four polling places open in the county, along with absentee ballots they had already received, but they couldn’t release official results until yesterday when all mail-in ballots were counted and added to the tally. Mail-in ballots had to be postmarked by the June 23 election date, Johnston’s office explained, but that meant it would take several more days for those ballots to be delivered and counted. 

Results available on election night put the U.S. Senate seat in a race between Mitch McConnell on the Republican side and Amy McGrath for the Democrats. McConnell had received 82.17% of votes cast in Carter County to that point, taking 2,115 for a decisive lead against closest competitor C. Wesley Morgan, who received only 150 votes for 5.83% of the vote. On the Democratic side McGrath had just over half the votes cast, 56.74% at 1,352, while her closest competitor, Charles Booker, had 648 votes for 27.19% of the vote. 

When all absentee ballots were tallied McConnell had 2,165 votes, for 81.9% of the Republican vote and McGrath had 1,392 for 56.4% of the Democratic vote in Carter County. Charles Booker grew from 648 to 684, for 27.71% of the vote, but it wasn’t enough for the Louisville native to overtake McGrath in Carter County. 

On a statewide level Booker and McGrath were much closer, with McGrath barely edging out Booker, with 44.9% of the tallied votes to Booker’s 43.4% at press time. 

In the U.S. House of Representatives Fifth District race Matthew Best, who advanced without competition in a canceled Democratic primary, will face incumbent Republican Hal Rogers. Rogers had received 90.55% of the primary votes against challenger Gerardo Serrano, who had 239 votes for 9.45% before absentee ballots were counted. After all Carter County ballots were counted, Rogers had 2,348 votes to Serrano’s 248, giving Rogers 90.45% of the vote, a 0.1% dip, but still a commanding lead. 

On election night it looked like Carter County Republicans wanted native son Patrick Flannery to face off against incumbent Kathy Hinkle for the 96th district State Representative race. Flannery had 2,044 votes to Rita Flannery’s 547 in the Republican primary on election night. After all absentee ballots were counted Flannery received 2,097 to Yates 565. When votes were counted across the entire district it looked like Flannery, with 78.9% of votes tallied at press time, would handily beat Yates, with 21.1% of the vote. These numbers 

aligned closely with Carter County where, at final count, Flannery had 78.78% of the vote to Yates 21.22%. 

In the presidential primaries it looks as though presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has the support of the majority of Carter County Democrats. On election night Biden had 59.63% of the vote, 1,427 votes, while 18.64% of Democratic voters were still uncommitted and 9.69% of voters, 232, still cast ballots for Bernie Sanders despite the Vermont Senator’s withdrawal from the Presidential race. Once all votes were counted Biden took 1,473 votes, for 59.4%, Sanders took 249, for 10.04%, and 462, or 18.63%, were still uncommitted. Some voters also continued to express support for other candidates who have since left the race with Pete Buttigieg receiving 32 votes, 1.29%, John Delany 39 votes, 1.57%, Tom Steyer 18 votes, 0.73%, Tulsi Gabbard 34 votes, 1.37%, Michael Bennet 20 votes, 0.81%, Michael Bloomberg, 34 votes, 1.37%, Amy Klobuchar 34 votes, 1.37%, Deval Patrick 8 votes, 0.32%, Andrew Yang 30 votes, 1.21%, and Elizabeth Warren 47 votes, 1.9%. 

On the Republican side, President Donald Trump had the support of 93.41% of election night voters, with 2,453 votes, while 6.59%, or 173 Republican voters, were still uncommitted. After all votes were tallied Trump had 2,511 votes while 186 Republican voters, or 6.9%, still said they were uncommitted. While these percentages stayed close to the election night numbers the percentage of committed Trump supporters in the GOP did slip slightly, to 93.1% . 

In the Supreme Court 7th district Robert Conley took 53.59% of the election night vote, with 2,581 votes to Sam Wright’s 1,208 and Chris Harris’ 1,027 votes. After all votes were counted, Conley stayed on top with 2,660 votes to Wright’s 1,249 and Harris’ 1,060. Across the entire 7th District Conley took 48.1 % of the vote, or 8,010 votes, at last tally. The trend in Carter County held across the district among the other candidates too, with Wright taking 4,418 votes for 26.5% and Harris getting 4,238 votes for 25.4% of the vote at press time. 

All Kentuckians were allowed to vote by mail-in ballot this year, due to public distancing restrictions implemented at the state level to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These voting changes led to what many sources claimed were historic levels of primary voter participation across the state, but because of the need to accurately count all mail-in ballots, results of some elections – such as the McGrath and Booker race in the Democratic Senate primary – were still not yet clear on a state-wide level at press time 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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