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Large number of mail-in ballots issued

If everyone who requested a mail-in ballot for next Tuesday’s primary election actually votes by mail, there could be a large turnout for Jessamine County.

According to Jessamine County Clerk Johnny Collier, 11,900 ballots were mailed out. That represents 28 percent of Jessamine County’s 42,372 registered voters.

“That’s a great percentage,” Collier said.

Monday was the deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot, and 11,900 were mailed out.

Also,, 240 people had voted absentee on  an election machine as of Wednesday afternoon, and may continue to vote at the office until 4 p.m. Monday.

On Tuesday, polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at four voting locations: Wilmore and Nicholasville elementary schools, East Jessamine Middle School and Southland Christian Church. Those who go to the polls are asked to wear masks and stand at least six feet apart.

Because of health risks posed by the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams and Gov. Andy Beshear agreed to allow every Kentucky voter who wants to vote by absentee ballot do so this year for a medical reason.

“We are now processing ballots,” Collier said Wednesday.

Because so many of the votes will be by mail-in ballot this year and they will be accepted as long as they are postmarked by June 23, election officials won’t know until June 28 who all the winners are.

In the 2016 primary election, 60.35 percent of Jessamine County’s registered voters either went to the polls or voted absentee. But that was an unusual presidential election year, because Republicans didn’t vote for their party’s presidential nominee in the primary. That year, Kentucky Republicans held a caucus before the primary so that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., could run for re-election to the Senate and for president — because a candidate’s name can’t appear twice on the ballot. In 2012, however, when there was an incumbent president, Barack Obama, on the ballot, the percentage of turnout was even higher: 61.77.

Who’s on the ballot?

The nonpartisan primary for the Nicholasville City Commission is one of the races attracting a great deal of interest this year. There are 12 candidates, and the primary will narrow the field to eight, who will then go on to the Nov. 3 general election.

Running this year for two-year terms are three of the four incumbents — Betty Black, Alex Carter and Patty Teeter — as well as challengers J.R. Allen, Gregory Bohnett, Bethany Davis Brown, Michael Garrett, Michael D. Harness, David Kibler, Dexter Knight, Clint Sullivan and Andy Williams.

The Wilmore City Council candidates will all be on the ballot in November.

Another race that has generated some interest is the Republican primary for the 39th District Kentucky House seat from which Democratic state Rep. Russ Meyer of Nicholasville is stepping down. Vying for the nomination are Jay Corman, son of the late R.J. Corman and chairman of the board of his company, R.J. Corman Railroad Group, and Matt Lockett, a financial adviser and chairman of the Jessamine County Republican Party. The winner will face Carolyn Dupont, a history professor at Eastern Kentucky University, who is the only Democrat running for the seat.

State Rep. Kim King, R-Harrodsburg, who represents part of Jessamine County including Wilmore, is not up for election this year. Neither is state Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville.

People can vote in the presidential primaries, but they’re a done deal. Kentucky’s primary is so late in the year that the nominations are usually decided before we get to vote, and this year, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have already secured the Republican and Democratic delegates, respectively, that they need to be nominated.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faces former Republican state Rep. C. Wesley Morgan of Richmond in the GOP primary for re-election, as well as several other candidates: Nicholas Alsager, Paul John Frangedakis, Louis Grider, Naren James and Kenneth Lowndes.

On the Democratic side, the presumed frontrunner, retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot who ran for the U.S. House years ago, has raised more money than all the other Democrats combined, but faces serious challenges from state Rep. Charles Booker, R-Louisville, and a Lincoln County farmer and newspaper editor, retired Marine Lt. Col. Mike Brohier. Other candidates are Jimmy C. Ausbrooks, Maggie Jo Hilliard, Andrew J. Maynard, Eric Rothmuller, John R. Sharpensteen, Bennie J. Smith and Mary Ann Tobin.

Brad Barron is the lone Libertarian Party candidate.

In the District 6 U.S. House race, Congressman Andy Barr, a Republican, has two challengers for the nomination, Chuck Eddy and Geoff Young.

On the Democratic side, there are two candidates for Congress: Josh Hicks, a lawyer and former soldier and police officer, who is supported by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Daniel Kemph, who ran before.

The only Libertarian candidate is Frank Harris.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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