Clark County officials are already gearing up for the Nov. 6 general election.
Clark County Clerk Anita Jones said her staff has mailed more than 50 absentee ballots to disabled residents and others who requested them because they will be out of town between now and election day, such as college students and individuals serving in the military.
Voting machines will open in the Clark County Courthouse beginning Oct. 4 for other residents who, for various reasons, will not be able to vote at their precincts on Nov. 6.
The machines will be available during regular courthouse hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The courthouse will also be open for early voting on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to noon.
By statute, Kentucky counties must have the voting machines open at least 12 days before the general election, but Jones said Clark County historically has had them out much earlier.
Kentucky voters are not alone in getting their votes in early. Twenty-three other states are also accepting mail-in ballots, and voters in Idaho, South Dakota and Vermont can already vote in person. Two others, Iowa and Wyoming begin in-person voting Sept. 27.
According to the Associated Press, statistics show the early voting trend began in the 1990s in western states and is still more popular there than other parts of the country, especially in southern states and New England.
Statistics also show that traditionally, early voters are more likely to be Republican, older and better educated and white, that traditional election day voters, according to the AP.
Voting in years with a presidential race on the ballot tend to have higher voter turnout, as was the case in Clark County in 2008 when about 72 percent of registered voters turned out for the November general election, Jones said.
State officials are predicting an 80 percent turnout statewide for the upcoming election and Clark County is expecting similar numbers of voters to cast ballots on Nov. 8, according to Jones.
Local races on the November ballot in Clark County include:
— Four seats on the Winchester Board of Commissioners where voters will choose between incumbents Kenny Book, Rick Beach, Shannon Cox and Kitty Strode and newcomer Ralph Harrison.
— Three seats on the Clark County school board where voters will choose between Dr. Beth Griffith and Steve Graves for the District 2 seat; between incumbent Debbie Fatkin and challenger Michael McGowan for the District 3 seat; and between incumbent Deanna Wolfe and challenger Ashley Ritchie for the District 5 seat.
— The 73rd District State Representative seat in which voters will choose between incumbent Republican Donna Mayfield and Democrat challenger and current Clark County Commissioner JoEllen Reed.
There will also be a question on the ballot concerning the Clark County Fiscal Court. Voters are being asked to vote yes or no at to whether they are in favor of a return to a Fiscal Court composed of seven magistrates representing specific districts in the county as apposed to the current Fiscal Court consisting of three commissioners who do not represent any specific district.
Contact Bob Flynn at email@example.com.