Local News Politics

Candidate Filing Deadline For 2011 Is Tuesday

Tuesday is the deadline to file to run for office in this year’s elections in Kentucky. As WFPL’s Gabe Bullard reports, interest in this year’s races is lower than it was last year.

There were many more races on the ballot last year, and that drew hundreds of candidates. And the posts up for election ranged from county clerks to Congressional seats. Just state races and special elections are on the ballot this year. But Secretary of State spokesperson Les Fugate says that doesn’t mean the hours before the deadline will be dull.

“You’ll see a lot of action, probably in the final days on the secretary of state’s race, the attorney general’s race, maybe even the auditor’s race,” he says. “We’re not expecting too many more filings for governor, but you never know who might be out there.”

Fugate further attributes the surge of candidates last year to dissatisfaction in the federal government.

“Federal offices were kind of what was driving a lot of the interest, and federal dealings were driving a lot of the interest in races in 2010,” he says. “That kind of reached down to all of the races at the local level. That fervor has dissipated a little bit.”

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Absentee Voting Down Slightly In Kentucky

Early voter turnout is down in Kentucky. The drop could affect some high-profile races, if it spills over into Election Day.

Compared to the last midterm election in 2006, absentee and early in-person voting are down about nine percent. Secretary of State spokesperson Les Fugate says it’s unclear why.

“Many of the county clerks said you can tell voters are very frustrated with what’s going on in Frankfort and in Washington, but they don’t see a lot of enthusiasm for particular candidates. And it’s usually candidates who drive turnout, not frustration,” he says.

Fugate says there’s still time for voters to fill in the gap, either through more early voting or high turnout on Election Day. The drop doesn’t signal a large change in predicted turnout, but it could be enough to affect close races for Senate and for the mayor’s office in Louisville and Lexington. The Secretary of State’s office will update its numbers and predict turnout later this week.

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Filing Deadline For Independents Nears

The filing deadline for independent candidates seeking partisan offices in Kentucky is next Tuesday.  The deadline also applies to other candidates seeking office in the November 2nd General Election.

Independent candidates seeking partisan offices, candidates for non-partisan offices with no primary, or those seeking to fill an office with a recent vacancy must have their filing papers in the hands of state or local elections officials by 4:00 pm, local time, August 10th.

“All candidates who want to run for a partisan office – which can range from judge-executive, county clerk, all the way up to your state senator and state representative – you have to file your paperwork by August 10th,” says Secretary of State’s office spokesperson Les Fugate.

Fugate urges candidates to get their paperwork in early because document corrections are not allowed after the filing deadline.

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100,000+ Absentee Ballots Expected this Election

Kentucky officials expect to count more than 100,000 absentee ballots this general election.  Many of those ballots will be mailed back from members of the military serving overseas.  But Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Les Fugate says absentee ballots will also be cast by people with demanding work schedules, such as nurses.    He says the Secretary of State would like to see absentee balloting available to even more voters.

“In Kentucky you still have to have an excuse.  Secretary Grayson has fought to free that burden up so that anyone could vote without excuse for an absentee ballot,” says Fugate.

Fugate says the option of voting absentee has increased voter turnout.  Absentee ballots can be obtained from county clerks’ offices.