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Voter turnout expectations are high for today’s election thanks to the battle for the White House.
Hardin County Clerk Kenny Tabb said turnout will be heavy if absentee voting is any indication.
More than 1,400 absentee votes had been cast by Monday morning by those who went to the county clerk’s office and signed affidavits saying they woul not be in town on Election Day.
Additionally, an estimated 1,600 paper absentee ballots and emails to members of the military have been sent out. Absentee ballots sent by mail must be received by the county clerk’s office by today to be counted.
The increasing population means there are about 70,000 registered voters in Hardin County and absentee voting this year is at its highest rate ever, Tabb said.
It is expected to outstrip about 1,000 absentee votes at the clerk’s office and 1,000 paper ballots cast in 2008.
There is no early voting in Kentucky.
Tabb is expecting turnout of at least 65 to 67 percent. The last three presidential elections have brought between 60 and 63 percent of registered voters come to the polls.
That’s a much better turnout rate than some other elections have seen, such as the 17 percent of voters who participated in the primary in May, Tabb said.
“It’s pitiful sometimes,” he said.
The publicity and long campaigns surrounding presidential elections usually draw a higher-than-average turnout, Tabb said.
Local candidates on the ballot also draw voters, with an expected turnout of between 45 and 50 percent in such elections.
It’s important for residents to vote, Tabb said.
“This is one of the basic rights all Americans have,” he said. “We shouldn’t take it for granted. We shouldn’t take it lightly.”
Voting takes place in each of the 57 polling places from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. today. Anyone in line to vote at 6 p.m. will be allowed to do so, regardless of how long the line is or how long it takes. Anyone not inside the polling location at that time won’t be allowed to vote.
Voters should bring one of the following forms of picture identification with a signature on it: a driver’s license, Social Security card or credit card.
Tabb said he expects today to go smoothly.
Officials had been making plans for special polling stations for West Point in case the evacuation continued into Election Day, but residents have been allowed to return to their homes.
The polling location will remain at its normal site at West Point Independent School.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.