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Primary election next month

Photo by Greg Bird
The McCreary County Election Board inspected the voting machines prior to the next election.


By Greg Bird

With the Primary Election a little over a month away, the McCreary County Board of Elections got down to business this week – certifying the voting machines and preparing for the May 21st vote.
This election some voters may see new technology when they show up to vote – the E-Poll book. Instead of searching for their name in the large voter registry book like they had in the past, now they can scan a driver’s license or picture ID to save time.
The McCreary County Board of Elections has decided to use the new E-Poll book in the Revelo precinct during the Primary Election on a trial basis. The Board will keep the traditional voter registration book on site as a back-up in case there are issues with the E-Poll book.
The E-Poll is a wireless computer tablet designed to make checking in to vote an easier process. The move is being championed by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes as her office has sent the new machines to all counties with the purpose of replacing the paper books that have been in use for previous elections.
The e-poll allows for a quicker check-in time for voters by scanning the barcode on the back of the voter’s driver’s license. Since Kentucky law doesn’t require a voter to produce a driver’s license, this new technology still gives the voter the ability to sign in if they present a credit card, social security card or even be identified by personal acquaintance.
It also has the advantage of saving both the State Board of Elections and the county money on the production of the paper rosters and the cost of shipping the rosters between the two entities.
Concerns have been raised about the reliability of the device, and several counties have opted to not use them in the Primary, or to test them in a few precincts. Another issue that has troubled election boards is the number of devices sent to each County Clerk. While most counties have enough E-Poll books for each precinct, there is not enough for a back-up in each polling station – leading to concerns if the new device fails voters will not be able to cast their ballots.
McCreary County had a sample E-Poll book in the last General Election, with voters in the Stearns precinct able to see how it would work, but it was not used in an official capacity.
The May 21 Primary will feature party races for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and Commissioner of Agriculture.
On the Republican side Governor Matt Bevin is being challenged by Robert Goforth, Ike Lawrence and William Woods for the nomination to be on the ballot in the fall. Democrats Rocky Adkins, Andy Beshear, Adam Edelen and Geoffrey Young are vying for their party’s support to take the race to November.
Four Republicans and four Democrats are contenders in the Secretary of State race. Current Secretary, Alison Lundergan Grimes, has served two consecutive terms and is ineligible to run again this election.
For the Republicans Michael Adams, Andrew English, Stephen Knipper and Carl Nett will appear on the ballot. Jason Belcher, Jason Griffith, Heather French Henry and Geoff Sebesta are the Democrat candidates.
For the Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles will face a Primary challenge from fellow Republican Bill Polyniak, while Democrats Robert Conway and Joe Trigg will fight for the nomination for their party.
Only two Republicans will appear on the ballot for Attorney General: Daniel Cameron and Will Schroder. Current Attorney General Andy Beshear is running for Governor this year and cannot appear on the ballot for two races.
There will be four Democrats on the ballot for the Auditor of Public Accounts seat Kelsey Coots, Drew Curtis, Sheri Donahue and Chris Tobe will vie for the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Mark Harmon, who has no opposition and will not appear on the Primary Ballot. (Drew Curtis has withdrawn from the race, but will still appear on the ballot.)
Allison Ball, the Republican incumbent for Treasurer, also has no challengers from her party will not appear on the Primary ballot, but two Democrats: Michael Bowman and Josh Mers will contend to challenge her in the fall.

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