Absentee voting keeps clerks busy

October 24, 2004|EMILY BURTON

If the torrent of early absentee voters this year is any forecast for Nov. 2, expect record numbers at the polls and, perhaps, somewhat of a wait in line.

That's the observation of Boyle County Chief Deputy Clerk Joyce Robinson, who watched as a line formed and 25 people cast their absentee ballots by machine in the first hour the clerk's office was open Saturday morning to accommodate voters.

"We have just been busy. People are interested in this election. They all want to vote," Robinson said.

Though some states have already opened their polls, Kentucky only allows early voting by absentee ballot, cast either on a machine or by returning a paper ballot. The law allows residents who will be out of their home county on election day or have a medical emergency to apply for an absentee ballot.

Many of those who took advantage of the unusual Saturday hours at the Boyle Clerk's office were college students who will be away at school on Election Day.


"I though it was important to have an opinion on who's going to represent the people," University of Louisville sophomore ReKita Tarrance said while waiting to vote Saturday.

First-time voter Philip Wysong, a student at Cambellsville University, agreed that voting in this election held enough importance for him to apply for an absentee ballot.

"I heard it's supposed to be a close election," said Wysong, adding that voting is " basically the only way you have a say."

James Wysong proudly watched his son vote before casting his own absentee ballot.

"We want to make sure the candidate we want wins. Not only in the national election, but also the state," said James Wysong, a teacher at Scott County High School concerned over the lack of a state budget. "We want to make sure we get somebody in there that's going to vote for a budget this time."

Along with Boyle residents, voters in Casey, Lincoln and Garrard counties could cast their absentee ballots by machine on Saturday and will be able to do so next Saturday as well. The Mercer County Clerk's office is not open on Saturdays.

Early absentee voting has already been heavier than usual in all five counties and will continue until Nov. 1. People can still request absentee ballots until Tuesday. All the activity has been keeping the clerks' offices extremely busy.

"This is the worst I've ever seen it and we don't even have any contested county races," said Mercer deputy clerk Shannon Becknell. "We've got a lot of ballots coming in and we're still getting applications in the mail. It's pretty much consumed all of my time."

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