The Latest: Man says he’d never waited longer in voting line

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on a handful of primary elections across the United States (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

One voter in Lexington, Kentucky, says Tuesday’s primary election was the longest he’s ever spent in line to cast a ballot.

Fifty-five-year-old Bob Woods arrived at Kroger Field at the University of Kentucky around 10 a.m. and spent nearly an hour and fifteen minutes in a line winding through the entryway of the stadium before approaching the room where voters were being checked in.

“I knew that a lot of people had voted by mail previous to this, so I was a little surprised to still see that there were still that many people in line when I got there,” Woods said, adding: “This is definitely the longest that I’ve ever waited.”

Woods, who works in consulting, said the line hit a bottleneck at the check-in stations, where only about four workers for each of two lines were present to check voters in before allowing them into the booths, many of which remained open because of the holdup.

The check-in station also posed challenges for social distancing.

“People really got bunched up there,” Woods said, though he estimated that about 75-80% of people were masked.

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2:50 p.m.

Voting appears to be running smoother than in primaries held two weeks earlier in Georgia and Nevada.

While there were reports of some voters in New York and Kentucky having to cast ballots in person Tuesday after not receiving an absentee ballot, it did not appear to be causing the long lines that were seen in places like Milwaukee and Atlanta.

The longest wait times were reported at the lone voting site in Lexington, Kentucky. Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins says he added two more check-in stations after turnout remained steady into the late morning, with voters reporting a wait time of about an hour and a half.

“Usually we get a pretty big rush in the morning,” Blevins said. “That we expected, but usually it dies down around late morning. That didn’t happen.”

Wait times were minimal in Jefferson County, though voting advocates said they were concerned that the lone polling place for the entire Louisville area was too difficult for some voters to get to.

In New York City, much of the complaints fielded by voter protection groups centered on polling places that opened late and voters reporting they had not received both pages of their ballot.

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2:40 p.m.

In Louisville, voters encountered only mild traffic on their way into the Kentucky fairgrounds.

Inside the polling site, some chairs for volunteers were left empty, as crowds moved through to cast their ballots in small groups spaced apart.

“They should have more (elections) like this. You can get in and get out quick, said 70-year-old Mary Moorman, an African-American woman who said that she did not have to wait in lines like she normally would.

Michael Baker was dissatisfied with the polling location because it was far away from where he lived in the West End. He noted that most people in his neighborhood don’t have cars.

Baker voted for state Rep. Charles Booker in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

“I heard people say to me that would take away a lot of votes from Amy (McGrath),” Baker said. “But being an African American brother, I want to use my vote for another brother to try and get into office, to hope that we can get some change.”

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1:15 p.m.

For some voters in Shelbyville, Kentucky, the state of America was a big factor in how they cast their ballots. For that reason, they voted for President Donald Trump and other Republicans.

Explaining his vote for Trump, health care worker Tony Parada said, “Not that I’m a fan of the gentleman necessarily, but I’m a strong anti-Marxist, and I feel like that’s an underpinning of a lot of American politics nowadays.”

Jerry and Libby Claypool said they were fearful of what might happen if Democrats won.

“I feel if Republicans don’t stay in power, this country is going to hell,” Jerry Claypool said.

“I feel like what’s going on right now is very, very scary,” his wife, Libby Claypool, added. She said she thinks people started out protesting nicely, but now it seems their agenda is destruction and it breaks her heart.

Neither Parada nor the Claypools, all of whom are white, had reservations about voting in person.

“I’ve lived through a lot of diseases and yes, this is a bad one, but let’s get real. We’re not all going to die from it,” said Libby Claypool, who said she’s nearly 80.

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Noon

Kentucky’s two biggest cities are trying something new this year because of the coronavirus pandemic: They consolidated polling places to one big site in each city.

So far, it seems to be working out, despite heavy rainfall in Kentucky.

In Louisville, the state’s largest city with 600,000 residents, voters are being shuttled to the Kentucky Exposition Center from satellite lots. Large crowds were flowing through the convention center so quickly Tuesday morning that there was no need for people to stand at wait at the many social distancing markers on the floor.

“It was in and out, no waiting at all,” said 51-year-old Anthony Spicer, an African American explosives expert who works as a consultant to law enforcement and the military. But he wasn’t able to vote in the Democratic Party primary like he wanted to because he’s a registered independent. He ended up switching parties and said: “Now I should be set for November.”

In Lexington, the state’s second-largest city with 323,000 people, voters are being sent into the hallways of the University of Kentucky’s football stadium.

Categories: National News