Voters heading to the polls today to elect next governor

November 04, 2003|HERB BROCK

How many voters cast ballots today in Kentucky's general election won't be known until after the polls close at 6 p.m. But by 8 a.m., it was known that the turnout in the Taylor household of Danville was very high.

That's when Terry and Linda Taylor and their daughter Beth cast ballots at Precinct 23 at Boyle County High School. They appeared to be proof that a family that votes together stays together. But looks can be slightly deceiving.

"We often vote at the same time but not always together," said Terry Taylor with a laugh. "Sometimes our votes cancel each other out."

But the Taylors were all on the same page when it came to issues, if not candidates.

"A big issue for me is morality," said Linda Taylor, who, like her husband, is a retiree. "I'm looking for a governor with high moral standards."


"Absolutely," agreed Beth Taylor, a state government employee. "Good morals are an important issue to me."

Terry Taylor said the morality issue has always been important to him in picking a governor, but it's become even more important in the wake of outgoing Gov. Paul Patton's adulterous affair.

"I'm looking for a 180-degree change from what we've had in the governor's office," he said.

Morality was just one of several issues on the minds of early voters in the Danville area this morning. The economy, jobs, taxes and the state's budget also were mentioned by several people as they pressed buttons in voting booths in and around the city.

And, according to precinct election officers in Boyle County and county clerks in Boyle and neighboring counties, there was a lot of button-pushing and lever-pulling going on.

"We've had a very good turnout, early on at least," said Basil Turbyfill, an election officer at Boyle County High School, where 87 of the precinct's 895 registered voters had cast ballots by 8 a.m.

"If the early vote is any indication, and it's been as good as I've seen it in a few years, then we'll end up with a real good turnout," Andy Parker, a veteran election officer at Precinct 21 at Lexington Avenue Baptist Church, said. More than 50 of the precinct's 878 registered voters had voted by 7:30 a.m.

Election officers at Precincts 15 (Lexington Road) and 16 (Lancaster Road), whose polling station is at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), characterized the early votes as "steady." As of 7:45 a.m., 55 of Precinct 15's 798 registered voters and 57 of Precinct 16's registered voters had voted.

"From the checks I've made of our precincts, I'd say the early voting has been real steady," said Boyle County Clerk Denise Curtsinger, whose books show more than 18,400 registered voters. "And from the numerous calls we've gotten here at the office from people wanting to know where to vote, that shows a lot of interest in the election."

In Garrard, Deputy County Clerk Barbara Gay also used "steady" to describe the early turnout of the county's more than 10,700 registered voters.

"Voting at a lot of our precincts has been constant, and another indicator of a pretty good turnout is the fact that calls to our office have been hot and heavy from people wanting to find out where to vote," said Gay.

In Lincoln, County Clerk George Spoonamore said the morning turnout was "pretty decent." He said he looked for a "good" turnout the county's nearly 15,800 registered voters.

Spoonamore reported one voting machine malfunction, but he said it occurred in a precinct that has two machines and, thus, did not create a problem.

Mercer County Clerk Bruce Harper said that, based on a "very steady" early vote, a turnout "on the heavy side of moderate" of the county's more than 15,000 registered voters was highly likely. In addition to the governor's race, another big attraction in Mercer, at least in Harrodsburg precincts, is a measure that would allow the city's larger restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol sales were a big issue in Danville a year ago, but with that matter settled, voters this morning were focusing on issues related to the governor's race. And the list from about two dozen early voters was long and varied.

"The economy and jobs, they go together and they're the No. 1 issue by far," said Darren Hudman, after he had voted at First Christian Church.

"I have small, school-age children, so education is very important to me," Teresa Hoehn, another First Christian Church voter, said.

"Education and the economy," said Hoehn's friend, Kelly Hoffman. "And the next governor needs to do something about the state budget. It's in a terrible state."

Vickie Record added yet another issue to the list.

"Taxes," Record said after voting at First Christian. "They're too high, and the tax structure needs to be reformed."

Health care and health insurance were issues that weighed on Betty White as she voted at Lexington Avenue Baptist Church.

"And you can add education," said White. "The two things people cannot do without are good health care and good education."

And, to a certain Taylor family that votes at the same time if not always together, good morals are something a governor cannot do without.

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