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RACIAL JUSTICE ACTIVISTS ENCOURAGE VOTING
Organizers who’ve marched for racial justice in Louisville this year shifted gears on Election Day to reach out to voters.
Members of Until Freedom and Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, set up a table to offer resources to voters at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage polling site Tuesday morning.
Chris Wells has led several of this year’s protests. He said he hoped to see protesters take that same energy to the polls, and that the community’s ability to work together has been “beautiful.”
“This pandemic forced us to do something that we don’t normally do, and that’s basically work together and get everyone out here to vote,” Wells said. “This early voting process was the best process I’ve ever seen in my life, and we had more than enough people to come out and vote that didn’t even vote before.”
A DJ set up outside of the heritage center to entertain voters after they cast their ballots. The Real Young Prodigy’s, a musical group composed of young Louisvillians, gave a live performance at the site.
Donielle Pitney, 16, rapped alongside younger sister Davonn Pitney, 14, and Keshawn Johnson, 13. Johnson said even though none of the members are old enough to vote, it’s important that they voice concerns.
“If we’re the future, we’ve got to do something now,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to get our voice heard.”
Davonn said young people should also step up to urge their elders to cast their ballots. Growing up, she said she was around many people who complained about the condition of their community, but didn’t vote to enact change.
“If you’re not there and you’re not coming up here and voting for those people that are better for you and bettering your life, then you’re not being that change that you want to see,” she said.
After their first stop at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, the group made their way to Roots 101 on Main Street for another performance. A youth march through the city followed. -John Boyle
‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ ATTIRE IS OKAY IN POLLING PLACES
Some voters in Ohio and Kentucky expressed concern that poll workers were advising them that “Black Lives Matter” attire was not allowed in polling locations. But according to both state’s laws on the subject, BLM clothing is perfectly fine to wear while casting your ballot.
The voters shared their concerns using the tipline operated by ProPublica’s Electionland project.
Political campaign attire isn’t allowed to be worn at the polls in the Ohio Valley. Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia have laws prohibiting people from wearing anything with a candidate’s name, campaign slogan or logo, or political party affiliation. But elections experts say that doesn’t apply to items bearing “Black Lives Matter.”
Former Kentucky Secretary of State and attorney Trey Grayson, an election expert assisting ProPublica, said that BLM doesn’t count as campaigning.
“It’s not for or against any bona fide candidate or ballot question in manner which expressly advocates the election or defeat of the candidate or expressly advocates the passage or defeat of the ballot question,” he said.
If you have questions or concerns about voting let us know via the Electionland tipline. Text VOTE to 81380 or use this form.
-Alana Watson, Ohio Valley ReSource
ELECTION DAY IS A GOOD DAY TO VOTE IN PERSON
For some Kentucky voters, election day is THE best day to vote, even with early voting options.
For Karen Johnson, it’s tradition to show up in person on Election Day. She cast her ballot at the Kentucky Exposition Center Tuesday shortly after 11 a.m.
It was a quick and easy process.
“I’ve been pushing early voting and telling people to get out here, giving rides, who ever needs rides to vote,” she said. “I personally wanted to come on voting day.”
Johnson said this election is, “vote or die.” Issues like racism and police brutality are top of mind for her. She was one of 87 people who were arrested in mid-July while protesting on the lawn of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
“There are some big decisions to be made,” Johnson said. “And we need to be on the right side of history… it is absolutely our duty to vote.”
Tyron Oliver Jr. said procrastination is what led him to vote on Election Day, even in a year with alternative methods.
His mother instilled in him the importance of voting.
“I’m an avid voter,” he said after finishing voting at the Expo Center. “It’s one of the things my mother’s always stayed on top of me about as soon as I turned 18… she was a retired school teacher and she believed it made a difference to vote.”
Kathryn Thomas, who also cast her ballot at the Expo Center, says a “crazy, crazy week” kept her from getting to a polling site before Tuesday. But there was no way she was going to sit this one out.
“I’m like Leslie Knope on Election Day. I am so excited to be here,” Thomas said, referencing comedian Amy Poehler’s character on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation”.
“We have the right to vote, so why not? It’s our civic duty and it’s fun and it’s easy, and it’s the way that you can make your voice heard.”
In St. Matthews, the community center’s parking lot was fairly packed with voters by early afternoon. But inside, where two disco balls spun over voters’ heads, there were no lines.
Amy Gallahue said voting this year holds particular significance for her because 2020 is also the centennial of Women’s Suffrage. “I’m a woman and women haven’t always been able to vote.” Gallahue came out on Election Day because it “felt like it was important to do it in person and see it go through myself”.
Gallahue said she felt a bit torn about Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger, retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath. She said she had to just “vote with her heart,” and declined to expand on where that led her.
Brian Johnson said he had already decided he would “vote for change” Tuesday. He thinks it’s time for a different person in the White House and in the Senate representing Kentucky
“It’s too divisive… it’s time for some fresh blood and new ideas,” Johnson said.
And Daniel Cabal, who “liked the idea of dropping it straight into the machine myself,” said he voted for McConnell, “but I kind of held my nose.”
Cabal said he didn’t like the “power play” back in 2016, when McConnell wouldn’t allow a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland.
MOST VOTES WILL BE COUNTED TONIGHT IN KENTUCKY:
State Board of Elections executive director Jared Dearing says he expects more than 98% of Kentucky’s vote will be counted by the end of Election Day and the state will likely be able to report most of its results.
County clerks have been counting ballots for weeks now, since the state expanded mail-in and early in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As of 1 p.m. about 1.9 million Kentuckians had cast ballots in the election, with more than 257,000 voting in person on Election Day. By 3:30 p.m, more than 330,000 had cast ballots on Election Day.
Dearing estimated that about 2.2 million Kentuckians would cast ballots in the General Election.
Dearing said by halfway through Election Day, 603,396 absentee ballots had been received and 1,025,786 ballots from people who voted early in-person.
He said he expected 15,000-20,000 additional mail-in ballots to be counted by the end of the week. – Ryland Barton
Lines were moving quickly late morning at The Academy at Shawnee.
In previous elections, voters used the entrance on Market Street. But polls were moved to the gymnasium on the 41st Street side of the school this year due to construction on the building.
Once voters arrived at the new entrance, they moved through the line in a matter of minutes. Kendra Clay, a 54-year-old Louisville native, said many of those she saw inside were young Black voters.
Clay said President Donald Trump is a “troublemaker,” and that she and the young Black voters she’s spoken with are hoping to vote him out of office.
“It’s just saying they’re fed up,” Clay said. “That’s what they’re saying. They’re fed up. There’s a lot of them in there that’s voting. So I’m very grateful for that.”
But Tkeyah Brown, a 23-year-old Black woman, said she is still trying to figure out where she stands politically. She said she has a variety of views that align with “different sides.” One issue she is firm on is her pro-life stance.
Brown said she feels politicians are too often using talking points to appease partisan lines instead of speaking to individual voters about specific issues.
“For me, that’s the hardest part of it all,” Brown said. “They’re just speaking to the party and not the issues as a whole. I feel like I have a lot of conservative views, but I’m also a social worker, so there’s a lot of Democratic views that I work by. It’s really hard.” -John Boyle
VOTING COMPLAINTS: The Office of the Attorney General has received 26 complaints today, as of 10:30 a.m., about issues at the polls.
Most Kentuckians voted early in-person or with absentee ballots, and the AG’s office has gotten 276 total complaints for the 2020 General election cycle, the office said today.
Most of the Election Day complaints are about electioneering. The attorney general’s reports don’t address whether the complaints have been verified. -Kate Howard
MORNING IN IROQUOIS PARK: Around 9 a.m., there were a few dozen people in line to vote at Iroquois High school.
David A. Anderson Sr. says he’s been at Iroquois High School since about 5:30 a.m., volunteering for a multi-organization effort to help voters get information that they need at the polling sites: “to make sure that everybody is really getting the access to cast their vote as easily as possible.”
When he arrived, there were people already lined up to vote, says Anderson, who is with the Louisville Urban League.
He stands at a table with information packages, masks and snack bars. Sitting next to him, wrapped in a blanket to stay warm, is Yvette DeLaGuardia, another volunteer “poll monitor,” as she describes it. She says they also wanted to make sure that there aren’t “any threats of manipulation or intimidation at the polls, that there are things like curb cuts for wheelchairs, different things like that.” They both say that things have been smooth today, with people in and out in 10 minutes or less.
Bridgette Duck, volunteering with the Kentucky Civic Engagement Table, says this is the first time she’s done something like this on Election Day.
“I think the importance of voting is so significant,” Duck says. “I’m out here for my kids, for people who came before me. We’re in crucial times and voting is a necessity… We’re most definitely standing on the backs [of people who came before us and couldn’t vote.]”
Lovetee, who declined to give her last name, isn’t leaving anything to chance and that’s why she opted to vote in-person on Election Day, rather than early voting or requesting an absentee ballot.
“I don’t want nobody telling me a story about we lost your mail or something like that,” she says, adding that it was a quick and easy process for her. “I’d rather do it in person than to mail it. People make mistakes. We are humans.”
She says it’s your duty to vote if you’re a citizen. “I feel like I did something today. I’m happy.”
Stan Vincent graduated from Iroquois High School in 1970 and says it was “pretty cool” to vote at his alma mater.
“I always vote on Election Day, never tried any early voting or [mail-in] ballot,” he says. “I was really happy with the way they’ve done it in here. It was really nice. I’m shocked.” -Stephanie Wolf