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Kentucky’s Fayette County Voters Received Wrong Ballots

County Clerk Don Blevins Jr. has confirmed that voters in at least two precincts received the wrong paper ballots for Tuesday’s primary election and, therefore, voted in the wrong district, which will nullify their vote.

(TNS) — Voters in at least two precincts in Fayette County, Ky., received the wrong paper ballots Tuesday morning, confirmed Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins Jr.

In the Lansdowne Elementary polling place, which is where both the Leawood and Cedar Run precincts vote, the ballots were swapped and the mistake was not caught for about four hours.

Danny Woolums of Lexington said he voted around 9:30 a.m. at the Cedar Run precinct. After his ballot was scanned in, he left. Then he realized that his ballot didn’t include a vote for the fourth district city council primary.

“I went back to make sure I hadn’t missed something,” Woolums said.

He and the election officer looked at the ballots on the table “and we recognized that both the Republican and Democrat ballots were missing the fourth district primary. Cedar Run is in the fourth district. Leawood is in the third.”

He had voted on a Leawood ballot. And so had the election officer and her husband. He said that the election officers didn’t know what to do; he’s hoping to hear from Blevins’ office in time to fix his vote.

“They were just as stunned as I was,” Woolums said. “This is a whole problem. ... My vote was wrong. This was not a problem before we had paper ballots.”

Fayette County switched to new machines which use paper ballots that are then scanned in.

“The e-pollbooks were programmed by location and not by individual precinct, so there was a small chance when voting at a location with multiple precincts that the voter might get a ballot for a different precinct housed at that same location,” Blevins said in a statement. “We caught that early on, and fixed it. There should be a negligible impact.”

Fourth District council candidate Brenda Monarrez said that she contacted Blevins office to ask about the problem and was told it had been corrected.

But there could be a number of people who voted in the wrong district and once their ballot is scanned they can’t vote again, she was told.

“The only way to correct it would be to have a hearing at the clerk’s office,” she said. “Most people don’t have the time to go down there and have a hearing.”

Fayette County Voting Complaints

Tuesday, May 17, was Primary Day and complaints came in to Kentucky’s voting hot line, including 10 from Fayette County.

As of 9 a.m., three hours after polls opened in the eastern half of the state and two hours in the western half, 21 new complaints had been received by the Attorney General’s voter fraud hotline.

Nearly half of the calls were from the Lexington area. According to Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office, there were five complaints of electioneering, four complaints of campaign violations and one procedural question from Fayette County.

Blevins’ office said he had not heard from Cameron’s office yet about the specific issues.

“We have had some reports of signs within 100 yards of polling locations,” Blevins said.

Earlier in the morning, his office said voting had been “running smoothly” after a few early morning hiccups.

Kentucky Voting Complaints

Other calls received by the AG’s office included two calls about voting machines in Boone County, one call about vote buying/selling and one about an election official in Clay County, one complaint about disrupting the polls in Floyd County, one complaint of a campaign violation in Garrard County, a call about an election official and a procedural question from Jefferson County, a procedural question from McCracken County, a procedural question from Franklin County and a procedural question from Warren County.

Complaints about voting began coming in last week. Kentucky held three days of early voting May 12-14 and 82 pre- Election Day complaints were received, according to updated numbers from Cameron’s office. Some calls apparently came from out of state.

Primary Day Voting

Democrats and Republicans went the polls in the May 17 primary to select candidates for the General Election in the fall.

Anyone could have voted in non-partisan races but voters must have been registered for a particular party by April 18 to vote in the party primary.

In Fayette County, the ballot includes primaries for the Sixth Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, who is seeking a sixth term, as well as hotly contested statehouse primaries.

Non-partisan races on the ballot in Fayette County include the judicial, city council and the mayor’s race, where Mayor Linda Gorton is seeking a second term.

Polls today were open until 6 p.m. local time and everyone in line before 6 p.m. was be able to vote.

Blevins said traditional turnout for primary days without a presidential or governor’s race on the ballot is about 27 percent in Fayette County.

“We really won’t know until the end of the day” how many people voted, Blevins said.

Turnout, Early Voting Numbers

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael G. Adams said on Monday that his office now expects turnout to be less than 20 percent.

“We hoped for greater participation, but the lack of a competitive statewide primary contest dampens enthusiasm,” Adams said on social media. “We are dialing back our prediction of 23 percent turnout to less than 20 percent.”

According to the Secretary of State’s office, just over 116,000 people voted before Tuesday, either through mail-in absentee ballots or in-person early voting.

Election Complaint Hotline

To report issues or potential election law violations, the Kentucky Attorney General’s office had a hotline: 800-328-8683, which was open until 7 p.m. on Election Day. The Attorney General’s office investigates and enforces Kentucky election laws but cannot comment on specific complaints or pending investigations.

Most calls involve procedural, legal or residency questions.

Before polls opened, Breathitt County recorded the most calls with five, including two complaints involving vote buying and one of electioneering.

Vote buying or selling complaints also were received from Bath, Magoffin and Monroe counties. Complaints involving campaign violations were received from Anderson, Boone, Bourbon, Bullitt, Cumberland, Garrard, Magoffin, Meade, Menifee, Scott, Taylor and Wayne counties.

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