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Voter turnout underwhelms

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Tabb says numbers were low compared to previous wet-dry elections

By Sarah Bennett

Though three cities voted in favor of expanded alcohol sales in Tuesday’s special election, Hardin County Clerk Kenny Tabb said voter turnout was low compared to previous wet-dry elections.

In the past, wet-dry elections have drawn at least a 50 percent voter turnout, Tabb said, but Tuesday’s numbers were “really down” from wet-dry votes of the past.

According to the county clerk’s cumulative report, 5,072 votes were cast in Elizabethtown, which is 28.22 percent of registered voters, he said.

In Vine Grove, 803 votes were counted, amounting to 23.8 percent of registered voters, he said.

Radcliff showed the lowest voter turnout with 2,592 votes counted, meaning 18.5 percent of registered voters turned out at the polls, Tabb said.

Poll workers had mixed opinions about Tuesday’s turnout.

Around 1 p.m., Radcliff North precinct at Colvin Community Center counted about 53 total votes, clerk Loretta Ogden said. In May’s primary, a total of 63 voted at the precinct.

By 5:30 p.m., the precinct had 114 votes and only expected a few more stragglers, but Ogden said the results met her expectations for the wet-dry vote.

At Elizabethtown’s Central precinct at the Historic State Theater, 171 voted during the first half of the day and averaged about 30 votes per hour, which was “surprisingly more than expected,” poll clerk Venice Eads said. By 1 p.m., the poll had counted more than double the votes seen in May’s primary.

Voter turnout was steady throughout the day with no real spurts in either the morning or afternoon, she said.

Mike Heatherly, poll clerk at the City Park precinct at Northside Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, said while the voter turnout was pretty average, he noticed an increase in new voters.

In the early afternoon, about 161 voters turned out to the Elizabethtown poll, which was about 10 percent of its registered voters, Heatherly said.

He said he expected about 20 percent to show up to the polls by the end of the day, which was below his expectations for the hot-topic wet-dry vote.

“I was expecting a pretty big turnout, more than 20 percent,” he said.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.