County Clerk’s office preparing for record turnout
13 Oct

County Clerk’s office preparing for record turnout

Election preparations are a frenzy of activity around the Pulaski County clerk’s office as election officials get ready for what almost certainly will be a record turnout of voters on November 8.

No doubt, what has been called the “dirtiest” presidential campaign in history, is a factor in stirring Pulaski countians to go to the polls. In addition to the presidential fray there are 43 local city council, city commission and school board seats on the General Election ballot.

About 26,000 Pulaski countians voted four years ago during the last presidential election. Local voters favored Mitt Romney with 20,584 votes to only 4,934 for the successfully re-elected Barack Obama.

A hasty spot check indicates the 26,000 ballots cast in the 2012 presidential election may be the record turnout, at least the largest in memory of veteran election observers. For a long time, the nearly 21,000 votes cast in the August 19, 1980 local option election in Pulaski County held the top spot.

“It’s been crazy around here,” observed deputy county clerk Tonya Brown. “Yesterday (Tuesday, ahead of the 4 p.m. deadline for registering to vote), there were more than 600 online voter actions –– registering to vote, switching party registrations and changing addresses. This is the first year online voter registration has been allowed in Kentucky.

At the rate it’s going, there may be a record number of absentee votes cast. As of Wednesday morning, 455 applications for mail-in absentee ballots had been received, and potential applicants have until November 1 to request an absentee ballot. Pulaski County Clerk Linda Burnett’s office has been accepting applications for mail-in absentee voting since October 3. Walk-in absentee voting at the clerk’s office begins Monday, October 17.

Early voting has already begun in many states but Kentucky only permits early absentee voting. An absentee voter must sign an affidavit that he or she will be unable to come to the polls on Election Day.

Mark Vaught, election coordinator for Pulaski County, said he ordered 37,500 ballots for Pulaski County’s 56 voting places. He earlier said he would order 36,000 ballots. “I got more nervous all the time … so I ordered 37,500,” laughed Vaught.

Ballots are coded for specific precincts. “You can’t take a ballot from one precinct and vote it at another,” commented Rick Barker, veteran member of the Pulaski County Board of Elections.

“There won’t be any changes in precinct locations for the November election,” said Vaught. “We don’t want to get people mixed up about where to vote with such a large turnout.”

The Kentucky State Board of Elections has not updated registration totals for Pulaski County since the October 11 deadline passed. As of September 15, Pulaski County had 46,855 registered voters, of whom 32,298 are Republicans and 11,236 are Democrats.

Also there are 2,472 Pulaski countians registered under a label other than Democratic or Republican; there at 767 independents, 69 Libertarians, 6 Green Party members, 4 Constitution Party members, 2 Reform Party members and 1 Social Workers Party member.

Members of the Pulaski County Board of Elections were at the Hal Rogers Regional Fire Training Center Wednesday morning inspecting voting machines to be used at polling places on Election Day.

Barker explained that board members check seals and numbers on optical scanners. Harp Enterprises, the election management organization that supplies voting equipment, has already inspected and sealed the machines, Barker said. Precinct officers will break the seals Election Day morning.

The local part of this election has an unusual twist. Rare it is when not enough candidates file to fill available government seats, but it happened both in Ferguson and Eubank. Only five candidates filed for the six positions on Ferguson City Council and only three filed for the four seats on Eubank City Commission. These seats may be filed by write-in candidates. Deadline to file a Declaration of Intent as a write-in candidate is 4 p.m. October 28.

Deputy clerk Brown said a potential write-in candidate from Eubank has picked up and completed paperwork for a Declaration of Intent. “She came in to file the paperwork and forget to bring the $50 filing fee,” said Brown. “She hasn’t come back.” As of Wednesday morning, no write-in candidate had filed in Ferguson,” Brown related.

With 43 local offices to be filled, the General Election Ballot will be long.

Somerset City Council members had a late January filing deadline and contests developed in eight of the city’s 12 wards.

Lesa D. Hudson filed against incumbent Jerry Wheeldon in Ward 3; Tiffany Finley Bourne, community development director for Pulaski County, filed against incumbent Jerry Girdler in Ward 5; Amanda Bullock, 503 Gooch Street, filed against incumbent Jerry Burnett in Ward 11; Jeremy G. Scrimager, 611 North Main Street, filed against Jimmy Eastham in Ward 4; John Adams, a Somerset attorney, filed against incumbent Pat Bourne in Ward 10; Dennis Floyd, 301 Oak Hill Road, filed against incumbent Donna Hunley in Ward 7; Delores Keenan-Boyd (Lori), 110 College Street, filed against incumbent David Burdine in Ward 1; and Daryl Brunner, 141 Hope Way, filed against incumbent Tom Eastham in Ward 12.

Brian Dalton, owner of Brian’s Barber Shop and Hair Design, is making a second try for a seat on Somerset City Council from Ward 2. Incumbent Linda Stringer did not file for re-election and Dalton has no opposition for election.

Incumbent Somerset City Council members Charles Mike New in Ward 6; John Ricky Minton in Ward 8 and Jim Mitchell in Ward 9 have no opposition for re-election. There names will be on the ballot for complimentary votes.

Somerset voters may vote for 12 council members, one in each of the 12 wards.

Candidates for the various small city and school board offices are:


Robert Lawson, Joyce Gregory, Pamela S. Thomas, Lula Thompson Burton, Patricia (Pat) Jones, Terry Vanover, Dewayne Sellers, Randy Berry, Noel Davis, Jeffrey M. Bundy and Carol Gibson Griffin all filed.

Incumbents are Susi Lawson, Lula Jean Burton, Dewayne Sellers, Terry Vanover and Joyce Gregory. Incumbent Bill Leslie resigned in July and Pamela Thomas was appointed to serve in his place. Incumbent Susi Lawson didn’t file for re-election. Her husband, Robert, is a candidate.

Vote for six names on the ballot.


Only five candidates filed petitions of election for seats on the six-member council. Filers are Karen Gregg, Eileen Thacker, Paul Moody, Anthony W. (Tony) DePrato and Linda Hughes.

Incumbents are Pamm Cordell, Tony DePrato, John Westberry, Paul Moody, Karen Gregg and Linda Hughes. Westberry and Cordell did not file for re-election.


Filing petitions of election were Mike Hall, Jeffrey William Wesley, Billy R. New, Elizabeth (Beth) Wheet, Richard Hosner and Jimmy Ramsey.

Incumbents are David Phelps, Hall, Wesley and New. Phelps did not file for re-election.

Vote for four names on the ballot.


Only three candidates filed for the four-member Eubank commission. Filing petitions of election are incumbents Alton Fulcher Jr. Eddie Hicks and Curtis G. Todd.

Incumbent Bill R. Jones did not file for re-election.


Filing petitions of election are Lenora DeBord and Jacob JJ Grabeel II.

Terms of Jeff Perkins and Gretchen Cole expire at the end of the year. Neither Perkins nor Cole filed for re-election to the city school board.


The county board of education will have a new look because neither incumbent Jim Wilson in Division 2 nor Michael Citax in Division 5 filed for re-election.

Filing for seats on the county school board are:

Board chair Brandy Daniels –– Division 1

Patricia Edwards –– Division 2

Rebekah W. Branscum –– Division 5


Filing for seats on the Science Hill School Board were Garry Patrick and incumbent Skip Norfleet.


Filing for positions of supervisor in the soil and water district were Tim Tarter, Don Minton, Jonathan Fox, Barbara Fulcher Jones, Garnett Wilson and Jack DeBord. Minton, DeBord, Fulcher and Tarter are incumbents.

Vote for four names on the ballot.

Hal Rogers name will be on the November ballot. No Democrats filed to represent the 5th Congressional District so Rogers will be going back to Washington for his 19th consecutive two-year term.

Rick Girdler won a contested four-candidate race to succeed Chris Girdler as state senator from the 15th Senatorial District. Rick Girdler’s name will be on the November ballot but he will have no opposition (except for a possible write-candidate) to take Chris Girdler’s place in Frankfort. Chris Girdler did not seek a second term.

State Representative Tommy Turner, Somerset, from the 85th House District; State Representative Ken Upchurch, Monticello, from the 52nd House District; State Representative David Meade, Stanford, from the 80th House District; and State Representative Jeff Hoover, Jamestown, from the 83rd House District, all will be re-elected without opposition. The four Republicans’ districts all extend into Pulaski County. There names will be on November General Election ballots in precincts that make up their district’s territories.

Rand Paul, the Bowling Green opthamologist and Republican nominee for re-election as the state junior senator, will face Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, the Democratic nominee.

Of course, at the top of the ballot will be the race for President of the United States. Headliners are Hillary Clinton with running mate Michael Kaine, Democratic Party; and Donald Trump with running mate Michael Pence, Republican Party.

Also on the ballot will be Gary Johnson and running mate Bill Weld, Libertarian Party; Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka, Green Party; Rocky Roque De La Fuente and running mate Michael Steinberg, American Delta Party; and Evan Mcmullin and running mate Nathan Johnson, Independent. There are 14 write-in candidates for president: Cherunda Fox, Ben Hartnell, Denny Carroll Jackson, Chris Keniston, Laurence Kotlikoff, Joseph Maldonado, Michael A. Maturen, David Perry, Marshall Schoenke, Mike Smith, Timothy Allen Stevens, Sheila “Samm” Tittle, Jerry White and Daniel Paul Zutler. Stevens and his running mate John Paul Mabry Jr. both are from Olive Hill, Ky.


Posted on October 13, 2016 by Bill Mardis

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