Low voter turnout expected for May primary
by Cris Ritchie
With the May primary election only two weeks away, local candidates for Perry Commonwealth’s Attorney and circuit clerk continue their push to get their message out. But election officials say they are not expecting a high voter turnout come May 22.
Perry County Clerk Haven King noted that the county’s absentee voting machine opened on Friday, and as of Monday afternoon, only one person had cast their ballot.
“Very, very low,” King said, describing his expectations of voter turnout this month.
One reason for the low estimate is King’s belief that “there’s just no interest” in casting votes during the upcoming election. There will be only three local races on the ballot, with Democratic contests in the commonwealth’s attorney and circuit clerk races, and a Republican primary for commonwealth’s attorney. Upper ticket races include a Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives between Michael Ackerman and Kenneth Stepp for a seat that has been held by Rep. Hal Rogers for more than three decades. The presidential primary will also be on the ballot, though President Barack Obama is running unopposed, and Republican Mitt Romney’s challengers have by and large already dropped out of the race.
“Low voter turnout is not good. Of course the interest may pick up,” King added, noting that in November there will be additional local seats for school boards in the county and city, as well as seats for the Vicco and Hazard city commissions up for grabs. The election for president could also bring more people in the November general election.
Voting in Perry County is already open in the form of absentee ballots if voters will not be able to vote on May 22. Mail-in ballots can be requested from the clerk’s office up until seven days before the election. The absentee voting machine is also available during working hours at the clerk’s office, and can be used by voters who will be out of the county on election day, members of the military confined to a base or overseas, a student or resident temporarily living outside of the county, a voter or spouse of voter who has surgery scheduled that will require hospitalization on Election Day, and a pregnant woman in her third trimester.
In the meantime, the clerk’s staff is working to ensure that the county’s precincts will be up and running come May 22. There are 37 voting precincts in Perry County, and residents in Dwarf will have a new voting location. During past elections, voters there cast their ballots beside the Dwarf post office. This year, the location was moved to the Dwarf Baptist Church, located near the post office on Ky. 476 at Combs Branch.
The following is a complete list of Perry County precinct locations:
Airport Gardens: Dennis Wooton Elementary School
Ary: Robinson Elementary School
Avawam: Big Creek Elementary School
Big Leatherwood: Leatherwood Elementary School
Bonnyman: Buckner’s Grocery
Bulan: Jakes Branch Fire Department
Busy: Willard Elementary School
Butterfly: Fugates Entertainment Center
Chavies: Chavies Elementary School
Christopher: Perry County Garage
City Hall: Hazard City Hall
Combs: A.B. Combs Elementary School
Cornettsville: Cornettsville Fire Department
Courthouse: Perry County Courthouse
Dice: Lost Creek Fire Department
Dwarf: Dwarf Baptist Church
Farmertown: Sherman Neace Athletic Center
Fusonia: Brashear-Callahan Funeral Home
Grapevine: Chavies Elementary School
Gym: Hazard Memorial Gym
Happy: R.W. Combs Elementary School
Hardburly: Hardburly Masonic Lodge
Jeff: Whitaker Athletic Center
Krypton: Krypton Fire Department
Library: Perry County Public Library
Lothair: Allie Gorman Towers
Lotts Creek: Sherman Neace Athletic Center
Medical Center: Hazard Fire Station No. 2
Rogers Branch: Viper Fire Department
Rowdy: Homeplace Community Center
Town Mountain: Big Creek Elementary School
Turner: Walkertown Elementary
Vicco: Vicco City Hall
Viper: Viper Fire Department
Walkertown: Walkertown Elementary School
Yerkes: Little Shop Folk Head Start
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