Kentucky has slashed the number of polling locations for Tuesday’s primary elections, a situation voting rights advocates say could have “disastrous” effects.
There will be just 170 in-person polling stations across the Commonwealth on June 23—a major drop from the standard 3,700 sites usually made available for voters. The decrease comes as state officials heavily encourage residents to vote by mail amid the coronavirus health crisis.
The result is that most of the state’s most populous areas will have just one polling location available. That list includes Jefferson County, the largest county in Kentucky and home to half of its Black residents.
Election Day concerns, especially over how the lack of in-person polling sites could affect Black voters, were so great that a bipartisan group went to court last week to demand more polling locations. A judge denied the claim, citing concerns that last-minute action by the court would adversely impact the election.
“We hope we are wrong and that there are no problems in voting. But if there are major concerns with the election, we will fight as hard as we can to ensure that similar problems don’t recur during the general election in November,” Louisville Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey, a Democrat, and Jason Nemes, a Republican state representative, wrote in a joint statement after the decision.
‘It’s going to be an angry mob’: Kentucky cuts number of polling stations by 95 percent ahead of primary voting https://t.co/CQWYQ71JFK
— DanielNewmaη 404-737-1636 (@DanielNewman) June 21, 2020