MURRAY — Nearly a week after Calloway County residents went to their lone polling place for the 2020 Kentucky primary election, the last remaining votes are expected to be counted this morning.
Calloway County Clerk Antonia Faulkner said Sunday that a counting committee that has been periodically assembling to count absentee votes will assemble one final time at about 9 a.m. to look at what are believed to be the final mail-in ballots of the election. She said those were received Saturday.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging in Kentucky, certain provisions were put in place, and this included that any mail-in absentee votes that were postmarked by June 23, which was the day of last Tuesday’s election, could be received and be counted.
“So Saturday was pretty much the last day we could get ballots that had been postmarked,” Faulkner said. “I’d say that won’t even amount to a dozen ballots, just from the mail, and the post office here has been great about seeing those ballots and taking care of those accordingly so we could get them as promptly as we could.
“So what will happen (today) is we’ll have our final count, then close down our mail-in machine and read the information cards.”
She said the results should be known by about 10. That will be well ahead of the state deadline, Tuesday.
One of the races sure to be highly watched – not only in Calloway County but in other communities that will be unveiling their votes today – will be that for the Democratic Party’s nomination for United States senator. The two main competitors appear to be Amy McGrath and Charles Booker, and based on statewide totals publicized so far, this race appears very close.
The votes cast at the CFSB Center on the Murray State University campus show this well. Those counts, which Faulkner said only comprises probably half of the total vote, show Booker leading McGrath by only 56 votes.
“It’s always interesting, though,” Faulkner said of the counting process. “We do have those open to the public, but this time, we’ve had to make certain rules because of COVID, particularly if we expected to have lots of people interested. We only got requests from the Booker and McGrath campaigns to sit in on those, but that shows you how much interest there is with that race.”
The Democrats’ nominee will be facing longtime Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who, though facing six opponents in the Republican Party primary, handled that challenge without too much trouble. Again, though they only show perhaps half of the votes that will be counted in this election locally, last Tuesday’s tapes show McConnell with an overwhelming lead, and the Associated Press already called the race for McConnell last Tuesday night after the polls closed.
In her race for Kentucky 42nd Judicial Circuit Family Court Judge, Murray’s Stephanie Perlow’s Calloway County numbers far and away were in front of both of her opponents, Marshall County candidates Ryan Yates and Catherine Fuller. However, Marshall County’s votes could decide the race.
The other race of intrigue locally was that for Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge. Based on the tapes at the CFSB Center, this race is very tight heading into today’s final count in Calloway County with incumbent Chris McNeil, a longtime Paducah attorney, trailing another Paducah lawyer, Jenny Hines, by 58 votes in what appears to be a two-horse race for that seat.
However, that race involves the 24 westernmost counties of Kentucky, meaning things could be considerably different in those other locations.