by Chris Mayhew , firstname.lastname@example.org –
Northern Kentucky county clerks are preparing for lines of people seeking to vote on Election Day after months of political bluster and debate.
Voters can cast ballots in Kentucky from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Presidential election voters are expected to bring out 65 percent or more of registered voters in Boone, Campbell or Kenton counties. A 65 percent turnout is about 194,000 people casting ballots in the three counties’ combined 232 voting precincts.
All public schools will be closed on Election Day.
A surge in new registered voters credited to Kentucky Secretary of State’s new online registration system has increased each county’s voter roll by between 1,000 to 2,000 since June.
Campbell County’s registered voters increased by nearly 2,000 since June 9 from 69,761 to 71,725. Voter registration ended Oct. 11.
More registered voters do not necessarily mean more people will turn out than in a typical presidential election which trends at around 65 percent turnout, Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown said.
Making registration easier is one thing, Brown said.
“Getting them to the polls is a different story,” he said.
This year’s presidential election seems to be drawing more voter interest, Campbell County Clerk Jim Luersen said.
“I had one woman tell me she was voting for the first time since Nixon ran,” Luersen said.
Republican Richard Nixon was elected president in 1968 and ran for re-election in 1972.
“Campbell County usually averages about 65 percent turnout for presidential elections,” Luersen said. “I think it’s going to be higher than that.”
More than 1,000 absentee ballots have been cast along with another 1,000 early votes for people who will not be in the county on Election Day.
Poll workers, voters and members of the media will be the only people allowed inside polling precincts, Luersen said.
So, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s pledge to send out “election observers” won’t fly in Northern Kentucky.
Kentucky requires people seeking to observe to register as “challengers” and receive poll worker training, Luersen said.
No challengers were registered in any Northern Kentucky county by the Oct. 20 deadline.
“Nobody can stand there and loiter around unless they sign up to be a challenger,” Brown said.
Political parties have sent challengers in the past few elections, Kenton County Clerk Gabrielle Summe said.
Summe said she expects lines and about 65 percent turnout for Kenton County.
People traditionally line up to vote at 6 a.m. so they can get to work, she said.
Lunchtime lines often happen and the longest lines often occur from 5-6 p.m. so people can get in line before polls close at 6 p.m., she said.
“I just want people to be prepared,” Summe said. “Be prepared to stand in line so they give themselves enough time to properly vote so they don’t worry about getting to the airport on time or somewhere else they have to be,” Summe said.
Luersen said paper ballot voting and scan machines allow for about 12 people to vote at a time in each precinct. Lines usually move fairly quickly, he said.
And anyone in line to vote at 6 p.m. will vote no matter how long it takes.
“At 6 p.m. one of our poll workers will go and stand behind the last person in line at at that time,” Luersen said. “If you are in line at 6 p.m. you will vote.”
People who moved or have not voted in recent years need to check on where they are supposed to vote, Brown said.
Voters must present valid identification including a drivers license, signed credit card or Social Security card. Poll workers acknowledging a voter as a personal acquaintance also works.
“Bringing your ID makes it smooth,” Brown said.