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State Democrats Criticize Campbell Elections Board on Voting Sites

The Kentucky Democratic Party is upset over polling locations in the upcoming February 25 special election to fill the statehouse seat vacated by Democratic State Rep. Dennis Keene, of Wilder, who joined the administration of Governor Andy Beshear, leaving his term unexpired.

House District 67 encompasses the most northern parts of Campbell County, including its river cities. 

Typically, during regular primary and general elections, schools are used as polling places.

Campbell County Clerk Jim Luersen released a list of polling places for the Feb. 25 election which did not include school locations this time so that those districts would not have to close. Schools are typically closed on election dates in which school facilities are used as polling places.

Schools in Newport, Bellevue, and Dayton, that are traditionally used as polling places are seeing their precincts combined with others for the special election. Luersen's office released the details here.

In a news release, the Kentucky Democratic Party said that those impacted polling locations "have been high density sites for Democratic voters."

Democrat Rachel Roberts faces Republican Mary Jo Wedding in the Feb. 25 special election to serve out the remainder of Keene's term. The seat is also on the general election ballot in November for a full two-year term, meaning there will be a primary for the Republicans in May, and a partisan contested race in November.

Keene had held the seat since first winning election in 2004. House District 67 and House District 65, which encompasses Covington and northern Kenton County's urban center, are the only two seats held by Democrats in Northern Kentucky's three largest counties.

Voters whose precinct has changed will receive a written notice from the State Board of Elections, and an updated list of polling locations would be available on the County website by January 17th, a news release said. The closed polling places are expected to be re-opened for the May primary election, and voters will receive a second notice about that change.   

“When polling places are changed and moved, voter confusion is inevitable,” said Ben Self, chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “Failing to keep polling locations consistent can create voter suppression and make participation more challenging for voters with unforgiving work schedules or a difficult commute.”

-Staff report

Photo: On the Ohio River looking towards Newport (RCN file)