Tuesday is Election Day! For the past month, WFPL and KyCIR reporters have been working to bring you more information about the races you’ll see on your ballot. If you’ve missed any of them, here’s a rundown to help you make more informed choices at the polls.
First, The Basics
Polls open on Tuesday in Jefferson County at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. You can find a polling place or view your sample ballot on the Jefferson County Clerk’s website; if you’re wondering if you’re registered to vote in Kentucky you can check on the Secretary of State’s website. Acceptable forms of identification include a drivers license, credit card, social security card, personal acquaintance of an Election Officer, any other identification with both your picture and signature or any U.S. government-issued ID card (for a full list of options, click here).
And as far as access goes, as WFPL’s Lisa Gillespie reminded us last week, everyone — including people with disabilities — should be given the option to vote independently and privately on Election Day with a machine that’s accessible.
If you’re out at the polls and notice anything that creates a barrier to voting — from long lines to broken machines to voter intimidation — let us know.
Marsy’s Law (Editor’s Note: This Will Appear On Your Ballot As ‘Constitutional Amendment’)
A proposed constitutional amendment will be on every Kentucky ballot this year. Marsy’s Law is described by supporters as a “victims’ rights amendment.”
As Capitol Reporter Ryland Barton wrote earlier this year: “It would require courts to notify victims when a defendant is released from custody, give them the right to testify at court proceedings and the right to restitution from those convicted of committing a crime against them, among other provisions.”
But opponents, like the American Civil Liberties Union, argue the measure could overburden the justice system and give accusers an advantage over the accused.
A lawsuit filed over the bill in August argued the language that’ll appear on everyone’s ballots is too vague. Last month, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate agreed.
Wingate’s ruling means though Marsy’s Law will still be on the ballot, the results won’t be certified until all of the appeals are exhausted.
The only Congressional representative on our ballot this year is for Kentucky’s 3rd District Representative. There, incumbent Democrat John Yarmuth is facing Republican challenger Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, the former head of the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Both candidates participated in a debate at the WFPL studios last month; you can listen to the debate or read our coverage of it here. (The biggest Congressional race in Kentucky is the 6th District, which seems to be a toss-up between GOP incumbent Andy Barr and Democrat Amy McGrath.)
Every single Kentucky state house seat is up for election this year, though all aren’t contested. Here’s a quick guide to the Jefferson County (and some Bullitt and Oldham County seats, too) that are in play.
And though it’s unlikely Democrats will be able to grab back control of the state legislature, if you’re a political junkie and wondering which races around the state you should keep an eye on Tuesday night, here’s Capitol Reporter Ryland Barton’s analysis.
There are three Louisville-area Senate seats on the ballot this year; in all three races, Republican incumbents are trying to fend off challenges by Democrats. If you’re in Senate District 20, 26 or 36, Ryland Barton has a rundown.
In Louisville, Democrat Greg Fischer is vying for a third term as mayor. His opponents include Republican Metro Councilwoman Angela Leet and seven other candidates. Fischer and Leet participated in a candidate forum in the WFPL studios last month; you can listen to the whole forum or read about a few of their answers on key topics. Four of the independent candidates and Billy Ralls of the American Party also participated in a separate forum; you can listen to the whole forum or read some of their answers here.
Louisville Metro Council
Half of Louisville’s Metro Council seats are up for election, and many are contested. WFPL’s Amina Elahi has a rundown of your choices on the ballot.
A Potpourri Of Other Elected County Jobs
And in the category of “jobs you may not really understand,” here are a few you may see on your ballot.
If you’re in Jefferson County Magisterial District 1, you’ll see two choices for Justice of the Peace on your ballot: Democrat Mera Corlett and Republican Shelly Cormney. WFPL’s Ashlie Stevens took a look at what the county’s three Justices of the Peace actually do. (Spoiler: yes, a lot of weddings.)
Jefferson County Clerk is also on the ballot, and Republican Bobbie Holsclaw is seeking a sixth term in office. She’s being challenged by Democrat Michael Bowman, and WFPL’s Lisa Gillespie spoke with both of them about the position’s duties.
The Soil and Water Conservation District is a governmental entity you may only think about on Election Day, when the board supervisors are on the ballot, but WFPL’s Ryan Van Velzer looked at the role they play in the county’s agriculture, community gardens and youth education.
Jefferson County’s current Property Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer isn’t seeking re-election, and the relatively low-profile elected position has been in the news a lot this year after Lindauer tussled with Gov. Matt Bevin over his home’s appraisal. WFPL’s Ashlie Stevens outlined what the PVA job entails.
And everyone in Jefferson County will also cast a vote for Constable. The elected position was the subject of a 2016 investigation by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting; KyCIR’s R.G. Dunlop outlines how some in the past have abused the position’s power.
Jefferson County Board of Education
There are four seats on the Jefferson County Board of Education up for election this year, and two of those are contested.
In District 3, the candidates are James Craig, Jenny Benner and Derek Jermaine Guy. Craig and Guy participated in a forum held by the League of Women Voters last month and discussed how to fund the district and the best way to close the achievement gap; you can read or listen to their responses here.
In District 6, the candidates are Waymen Eddings, Corrie Shull, Nicole Aghaaliandastjerdi and Angela Smith. Eddings, Shull and Smith participated in a similar candidate forum to discuss the issues; you can read or listen to their responses here.
Jefferson County Judicial Races
The entire back of your ballot will likely be taken up by the county’s many non-partisan judicial races. The candidates participated in forums this fall — we’ve collected their answers about key questions facing the judicial system in our Judging the Judges series.
After all of this, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your choices or considering skipping this whole voting thing altogether, listen to some local teens tell WFPL’s Amina Elahi about what voting and civic engagement mean to them. It’s the first installment of our series The Next Louisville: Youth Voices, and a good reminder that the kids who are just starting to vote now — or are even a few years shy of that milestone — are the ones who will be inheriting the issues driving this year’s elections.