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Christian County Voter Turnout Short Of Election Official’s Prediction

Jennifer P. Brown
Hoptown Chronicle

Christian County Clerk Mike Kem had hoped that 25,000 local voters would cast a ballot in this year’s general election, but the combined tally of absentee, early in-person and Election Day ballots was roughly 1,000 votes short of that prediction.


The local turnout was 23,940, which is 42.7% of the 56,018 voters on the county roll, according to the county clerk’s tally sheet.

As of today, there were 360 outstanding absentee ballots, said Deputy County Clerk Melinda Humphries, the local election coordinator. Any absentee ballots that were mailed back and have a postmark no later than Election Day will be counted as long as the clerk’s office receives them by 6 p.m. Friday. 

The total number of people voting in the 2020 general election was a local record but the percentage fell short of Christian County’s turnout in other presidential elections. 

By comparison, the county’s voter turnout in the last three presidential elections was:

  • 2016 — 22,413 of 50,265 registered voters for 44.6%
  • 2012 — 21,984 of 43,838 registered voters for 50.1%
  • 2008 — 22,920 of 39,061 registered voters for 58.7%

However, Christian County has more voters listed on the official roll than actually live here, Kem has said. There are a large number of Fort Campbell soldiers and relatives who registered as local voters but continued to vote from their hometowns or have moved away, Kem and Humphries believe.

U.S. Census data provides one clear indication that the number of voters in Christian County is skewed.

The county’s population is 70,461, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 count, and of those 27.1% are younger than 18. That means 19,000 residents have not reached the legal voting age, leaving approximately 51,000 residents who are of voting age, according to the census.

Humphries said Kentucky law does not allow local election officials to proactively go into the voter rolls and attempt to determine who is no longer living in the county. That requires state action, she said. 

This story was originally published by the Hoptown Chronicle. 

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