ASHLAND — The Boyd County Clerk’s Office reported a record of more than 7,000 absentee ballots and a “steady flow” of in-person voters for Tuesday’s primary election — in absentee ballots alone, that’s three times the voter turnout seen in the 2015 election.
Janet Greer, the elections supervisor for the clerk’s office, said the flood of absentee requests called for quick action from those running the polls to prepare for the influx.
“In 2011, the total vote count — and we’re talking everything, walk-in, in person, absentee, the entire election — had 2,254 voters. In 2015, the entire election had 2,734 voters,” said Greer. “It’s going to be probably the biggest turnout in a primary we’ve ever had.”
As of Tuesday, Greer said she counted 7,368 absentee ballots submitted to the office.
For Boyd County, only one local election appeared on the primary ballot: the Ashland City Commissioner race.
Eight spots were eligible to go on to the general election in November, with nine candidates running.
They are Amanda Clark, an incumbent; Josh Blanton; Frank Fitzpatrick; Marty Gute, incumbent; Pat Steen, who recently resigned her position as commissioner earlier this month, but still remains on the ticket; Randy Memmer; Becky Miller; Cheryl Spriggs, former city commissioner; and Gerald Thompson.
Clark, who is up for her fourth term as a commissioner if elected, said she was “thrilled” by the number of voters showing up this primary season.
“In local elections, engagement of the community is absolutely of the utmost importance. The more voters you can get out there, the better. It’s your voice — use it,” said Clark.
Blanton is a newcomer who says the turnout and early feedback that he’s heard about his numbers in the polls have been encouraging.
“It’s great to see what I’m doing is resonating with members of the community, and obviously this is the first step, and we have a long way to go till November, but I’ve been really encouraged,” Blanton said.
Voters were also casting ballots for Senate and House of Representatives seats, presidential nominations, and a Kentucky Supreme Court seat in the primary.
Despite the polls’ official 6 p.m. closure, it could still be a few days before official election winners are announced, according to Greer, who says absentee ballots postmarked Tuesday will still be counted.
That means the clerk’s office still has a few days to tally all votes and allot for any mailing discrepancies before confirming an official number.
“We won’t know definitively the number of in-person ballots compared to the absentee ballots until later. It will be hard to know where the candidates stand before then,” Greer said.
The vote totals are set to be certified by Tuesday, June 30, according to the clerk’s office.
Until then, Blanton says he is standing by and taking it all in.
“We’ve waited several months, and I think we’ve all put the work in; honestly, it will be nice to just wait. We all understand the situation, and I’m just appreciative of the voters who took the time to vote absentee,” Blanton said.