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Record number of votes cast in Daviess County; one case of voter fraud suspected

July 1, 2020

A record number of votes were cast in Daviess County for the 2020 primary. | Photo by Ryan Richardson

A record-breaking 21,684 counted votes were cast in Daviess County for this year’s Primary Election, in large part due the number of absentee ballots that were submitted.

Election officials said primaries normally bring about 20% of registered voters to the polls, but this year more than 28% casted their vote.

Daviess County Chief Deputy Clerk Richard House said at more than 76% this year, voter registration was the highest he’d ever seen.

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“Voter registration always surges before a presidential election, and this is the highest voter registration we’ve ever had,” he said. 

In total, 12,738 votes were cast by Democrats, while 8,316 were cast by Republicans.

Approximately 15,500 of the votes in Daviess County were submitted through the mail via absentee ballots. Roughly 4,200 voters showed up in person on Election Day, while about 2,000 took advantage of early in-person voting at the Daviess County Courthouse. 

Of the thousands of people who submitted ballots this year, one “elderly” man voted twice in what was believed to have been an accident, while another male attempted to place two votes before election officials were able to intercept the man’s in-person vote, House said. 

Though both of these cases will be turned over to the Grand Jury, House and County Clerk Leslie McCarty said the elderly man’s second vote was likely accidental. After submitting an absentee ballot in April, he also voted in-person at the Owensboro Sportscenter. 

The second individual signed an affidavit at the Sportscenter stating that he’d lost his absentee ballot and needed to vote in-person. It was soon discovered that the individual mailed in his absentee ballot the same day he’d voted in-person. 

That vote was intercepted by staff before being totaled in, House said. 

“It proves the barcode system works,” House said, adding that the individual had not yet been contacted about his election violation, though he soon would be. 

Though House couldn’t determine the exact percentage as of Tuesday, he estimated that less than 4% of absentee ballots had been rejected. He said missing signatures on the outer or inner envelopes were the primary reasons for the tossed ballots. 

One issue poll workers faced on election day was a high number of individuals who’d applied for absentee ballots but then decided to vote in-person instead. McCarty said poll workers had to cancel absentee ballot applications for about 300 voters who showed up at the Sportscenter, causing extra work for those manning the registration booths. 

As for the record-number of registered voters this year, McCarty and House said they believed giving people more options to vote prompted a higher-than-usual voter turnout. 

“They had three different ways to vote,” McCarty said. “And with the circumstances [happening across the country this year], more people just wanted to vote.”

July 1, 2020

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