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Kentucky voters, elections officials looking ahead to November

Could mail-in primary be model for general election?
Posted at 11:10 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 23:22:52-04

COVINGTON, Ky. — It will take weeks for Kentucky voters to learn the official final results of Tuesday’s primary, but those responsible for making sure elections run smoothly are already looking ahead to November.

The Kenton County clerk Gabrielle Summe said she and her staff made provisions to keep both themselves and voters safe in this primary, but it’s not a process she wants to repeat in the general election.

Despite the hurdles, Summe says absentee voting has exceeded expectations. All ballots postmarked Tuesday and delivered by the postal service by Saturday will still be counted.

“Based on what was sent out, I have about 138,000 voters, on paper alone we’re at 22%, which is way higher than we’ve really had in a long, long time,” she said.

Still, Summe worries about the system’s ability to handle the upcoming presidential election if COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.

“Kentucky is not built really for mail-in,” she said. “We don’t use third-party vendors to produce or send our mail out, so it is very labor intensive, a lot of time, a lot of overtime for my staff.”

Driven by the desire for change in today’s turbulent climate, Danae and James Nixon braved COVID-19 to cast their ballots in person Tuesday.

“It’s imperative that we get our voice out there,” James said.

“Right now I feel it’s really important because of everything that’s going on, political wise,” added Danae.

The couple lives in Independence, and with their usual precinct closed, they drove to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington -- a process they hope doesn’t deter rural voters who prefer to vote in person, now or in November.

“I’m hoping by then, it’s not going to be a big issue,” Danae said.

No matter the environment, come fall, the Nixons are prepared to make their votes count.

“Everybody seems to have an opinion right now. Everybody has an opinion right now,” Danae said.

For live Kentucky primary election results, click here.