Half of all registered voters are expected on Election Day; Find out where clerks are expecting surges and whimpers

11/02/2014 09:05 AM

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is headlining the ballot for Democrats in her challenge to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, is projecting that nearly half of all registered voters in the state will show up to the polls on Tuesday.

In her official role Grimes predicted approximately 49 percent of the state’s 3.1 million residents registered to vote would turn out on Election Day.

“After reviewing absentee data provided by our county clerks and historical turnout in similar election cycles, I forecast that nearly half of registered Kentucky voters will cast ballots in Tuesday’s General Election,” Grimes said in a press release. “But as the Commonwealth’s chief advocate for civic engagement, I am hopeful that as many as are registered will participate.”

In Jefferson County, where more than half a million individuals are registered to vote, county officials expect around 65 percent turnout — a significant percentage in an non-presidential election.

The most up-to-date statistics for Jefferson County show Democrats have a strong advantage in the county with 317,540 Democrats registered compared to 179,972 Republicans. There are 51,303 people in the district registered as anything other than Democrat or Republican.

Jefferson County was in the midst of an intense mayoral race in 2010, which likely boosted the nearly 53 percent turnout in the area that election year.

In Fayette County, clerks are predicting similar interest this election as they saw in the 2010 U.S. Senate race when nearly 50 percent of voters turned out.

There are more than 77,000 active Republican voters in the county and slightly more than 108,000 active Democratic voters in the area.

Northern Kentucky clerks said they are expecting a dismal turnout of 35 percent in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

A dismal turnout is likely anticipated by the candidates, but the expected numbers of 35 percent would be a drop in total voters compared to the previous midterm cycle. In 2010 the three counties averaged a turnout of 43.3 percent.

As of October 20 there were 132,946 registered Republicans and 108,814 registered Democrats in the three counties.

However, McConnell is likely not counting on big numbers from the north. He has focused a large portion of his re-election efforts in counties in the eastern and western portions of the state with extensive bus tours in coal-producing counties.

McConnell has painted his election as a referendum on President Barack Obama, a deeply unpopular figure in the state, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on coal-fired power plants — which McConnell links back to the Obama administration.

Thursday’s Bluegrass Poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows McConnell up 17 points in the western and eastern portion of the state against Grimes. The poll also shows Grimes leading by 8 points in the Louisville region, which is a decrease of 6 percentage points from the previous Bluegrass poll. McConnell and Grimes are running even in the north central portion of the state, which includes Lexington.

McConnell has been drawing large crowds in several stops in the east on his recent bus tours, and Republicans feel good about his chances in the region where they say even Democratic strongholds have been turning out at rallies. There are also pocketed hotspots in the west for McConnell.

The Huffington Post is pointing their radars at Paducah on Election Night, a region of the state McConnell has carried in previous election bids, but has supported Democrats in the past. The city hosted former President Bill Clinton on his last stop in the 1992 presidential election.

In 2006 and 2010, 49 percent of Kentucky voters went to the polls, according to records kept by the Secretary of State.

As of Oct. 27, 22,390 voters had voted absentee on machines in county clerks’ offices and 21,598 absentee ballots had been mailed to voters.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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