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Ky. secretary of state lauds election reform, voter turnout after Election Day

Kyeland Jackson

Kentucky’s official voter turnout report won’t be available for a few days following the 2022 midterm elections.

But Secretary of State Michael Adams says the Commonwealth is on track to hit or surpass a 50% turnout. It could possibly be the highest number of registered voters casting ballots in a midterm election since 1990. It would also likely surpass the voter turnout results in 2010.

Adams said Wednesday that he was concerned about turnout heading into the election because of a lack of competitive races.

Adams also said that he and a number of county clerks were pessimistic about the prospects for high turnout because of the amount of misinformation they encountered leading up to the election.

“One thing I take away from the high turnout is that Kentuckians have rejected misinformation. They’ve rejected conspiracy theories about our elections being rigged. They know better. Kentuckians are smarter than that,” he said.

“I’m really optimistic about our future and that voters on both sides are accepting the legitimacy of our democratic process.”

Even with voter turnout expected to be high, several Kentucky counties reduced the number of polling locations during this year’s midterms.

Adams points out that while early voting was popular, it didn’t prevent lines at polling places across the state on Election Day.

Adams said that he’s testifying to legislators on Thursday to offer a few suggestions on improving the number of polling locations throughout the state.

One option would be to bring back veto power for the Secretary of State and/or the Governor to get counties to open more polling locations.

The other option would be to create a formula that says a county has to have a certain number of polling places depending on its population.

Adams explained that some of the Democratic-leaning Kentucky counties that saw active early voting didn’t report extremely long wait times.

But he added that counties with a large population, fewer polling places, and voters more inclined to cast ballots on Election Day could experience wait times as long as an hour.

Adams said such wait times are unacceptable.

“I don’t think adding more voting days in the solution. I think we have a certain portion of our electorate that want to vote on Tuesday and adding more voting days isn’t going to solve that problem,” Adams said.

“The way you solve it is you require more locations on Election Day.”

Adams said he looks forward to working with both Democrats and Republicans in finding a solution.

Alana Watson rejoined WKU Public Radio in August 2020 as the Ohio Valley ReSource economics reporter.
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