With high-profile races for the state legislature, Warren County sheriff and the Bowling Green City Commission, there’s a lot to draw voters to the polls Tuesday.
“We hope everyone will get out and vote,” Warren County Clerk Lynette Yates said. “This is your time to be heard.”
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes predicted voter turnout consistent with the past two midterm elections in 2010 and 2014, when about 49 percent and 46 percent of Kentuckians voted, respectively.
Based on absentee ballot totals, Grimes predicted Tuesday’s turnout will be about 46 percent of the 3.4 million registered voters in Kentucky.
“Based on historical data and current absentee voting patterns, it appears the turnout in this year’s election will be consistent with the last two midterm cycles,” Grimes said in a news release. “It’s not OK, though, for more than half of our voters not to participate, and there’s still time to prove my prediction wrong. I’m calling on all Kentucky voters to make a plan to vote Tuesday.”
Locally, Yates predicted Warren County will do somewhat better. “My prediction will be 48 percent,” she said Friday.
As of Tuesday, a little more than 1,000 absentee ballots had been returned, which Yates described as about average for a midterm election. The absentee ballot total in 2014 was 1,467, which Yates predicted Warren County will exceed during this year’s midterm election. Monday is the last day for absentee ballots.
During the primary election in May, about 16,327 people voted in Warren County. At the time, with a total of 80,698 registered voters, it equated to about 20 percent turnout. Statewide, about 23 percent of Kentucky voters cast ballots in the May primary.
Ultimately, Tuesday’s election might hinge on voters’ satisfaction with President Donald Trump.
Dina Wink, a 64-year-old Republican who is originally from Mayfield, said her No. 1 issue is health care. She’s concerned about the rising premiums she has to pay to get coverage and high drug costs.
“It’s a mess,” she said. “The whole thing has gone overboard every single month since the Obama health care proposals.
“My insurance, my monthly premiums, went from just around $200 a month. Now they’re going to be $680 a month. And my husband, he’s 10 years younger than me, he’s almost caught up with me. I still pay like $175 for my drugs each month. So that’s my health care right there.”
Although Wink didn’t initially support Trump in the 2016 campaign, she ultimately voted for him as the “lesser of two evils” over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“I voted for him and I like him now. I think he’s doing a great job,” she said, adding that she agrees with his stance on immigration and supports building a southern border wall. “I believe that people can come into our country, but legally.”
Wink has voted Republican for most of her life and plans to vote a straight ticket Tuesday. She said she’s voting to restore “sanity.”
“The insanity that’s going on right now is just appalling to me as an American, as a Christian, as a woman,” she said. “I hate to say this, but I’m almost ashamed to be called a woman because it’s all changed with the me, me, me generation of women we have now.”
Although she understands the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, Wink said “it’s going overboard and everything seems to be about women and their health care and their bodies and their choice.
“I don’t like those movements, and it’s no longer America as a united group,” she said. “I don’t like the selfishness in our society now, and I see the Democrat Party being the me, me, me party.”
Lee Emberton, a 57-year-old Democrat from Bowling Green, is excited about the prospect of a “blue wave” that could wash out Republican candidates in races across the country. She also plans to vote a straight ticket and is put off by what she describes as a bad example set by Trump.
“Calling names is so juvenile,” she said. “Stick to the facts.”
For Emberton’s 53-year-old brother, W.E. Stewart, this year’s election is about “the fact that the Republicans won’t stand up to Trump because they’re afraid he’s going to call them names, and he’s acting like an 8-year-old child.”
Both see health care as their top issue going into the midterm election.
“We just want to be healthy. We want to wake up and be healthy,” he said.
Emberton also said Trump’s rhetoric on immigration has “gone out of control.” She referred to a caravan of migrants who say they’re fleeing their home countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala because of violence and poverty.
“I don’t believe they need to be attacked like they are, the caravan,” she said. “They’re just looking for a better life, and they’ll get here legally I think.”
“Bowling Green is basically a model community of how immigrants and locals can work together,” he said. “To my knowledge, we don’t have massive problems in Bowling Green with immigrants. They seem to be pretty hard working and respectful, unlike the president of the United States of America.”
Stewart also wants to see Trump enact congressional term limits and fulfill his campaign promise of draining the swamp in Washington.
“We need to get some new blood in,” he said. “As long as Washington is corrupt as it is, we’re going to get the same results as we’ve had. We got to have change.”
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.