Campbell County Clerk sees rise in Independent voter registration as preparations are underway for May 22 primary

04/26/2018 05:48 PM

NEWPORT – With the primary election less than a month away, county clerks around the Commonwealth of Kentucky are checking voting machines and getting things ready for the May 22 primary.

Campbell County Clerk Jim Luersen says that there’s been a voter registration increase in his county leading up to the 2018 elections.

One development the clerk noticed are more voters changing their registration, not necessarily from Republican to Democrat or vice-versa, but changing registration from either party to Independent.

“If anything, I think Independents might be increasing a little bit,” Luersen said. “I think people get a little frustrated with both parties.”

Luersen says that it’s been pretty routine getting ready for the primary.

As for predicted turnout, he says that depends greatly on the number of persons that are on the ballot for each party.

“In Campbell County for instance, if you’re a Democrat, there’s only one race to vote for,” Luersen said. “There’s three people running in the U.S. Congressional District to be on the November ballot against Tom Massie. The Republicans have a fairly full agenda to vote on. We’re anticipating 20 to 25 percent turnout in the Republican primary, and I hesitate to guess on the Democratic, I would think probably 10, 15 percent since there’s really not a whole lot to vote for.”

Some clerks around the state are facing a shortage of workers to man the polls on Election Day, but that’s a problem that Campbell County doesn’t have.

“We’re fortunate that we have a pretty good crew of poll workers, “Luersen said. “Our ones that represent both the Democrat and Republican party do a good job of keeping up with them and right now we’re in good shape on poll workers, but we’re always looking out for new ones.”

Luersen admits that he feels county clerks are under continuing financial strains of having more and more things thrown their way without additional financial resources.

“The money has actually decreased over the years, our expenses go up like everyone else’s, so we have to live within our budget,” Luersen said. “Our office tends to be the dumping ground for everything else in the state when they can’t figure out who’s going to do it.”

Luersen favored legislation this year in the General Assembly that didn’t come up for a vote which would move the governor and constitutional officer races to even numbered years.

Luersen estimates that the move would save Campbell county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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