Traffic Jam: Parking Delays Lead to Extended Polling Hours in Louisville

[Image via CW33]

Damn this traffic jam
How I hate to be late
It hurts my motor to go so slow

-James Taylor

Voters at the State Fairgrounds in Louisville were provided extra time to vote yesterday when parking delays left them unable to cast a ballot in the Kentucky primary before polls closed at 6pm. WDRB has more:

Traffic delays around the Kentucky Exposition Center, Jefferson County’s only in-person polling location, prompted state Rep. Charles Booker to ask a judge to extend voting hours…

Booker, a Louisville Democrat, requested an injunction Tuesday after reports that people were stuck in traffic and could not get to the voting location before it closed at 6 p.m. 

A state judge eventually agreed to extend voting to 630pm, which gave the last batch of voters access to the polling location after a brief standoff where they banged on locked doors:

Election rules state if you are in line when the polls close, you are allowed to vote. But many voters were still in their cars waiting in line to get into the Expo Center. Once parked, many of those voters arrived to locked doors since it was after 6 p.m., which prompted some of them to bang on the windows, according to WDRB reporters Joel Schipper and Dalton Godbey.

Election officials reopened the doors for voters to enter about 6:25 p.m., Godbey reported.

The injunction was granted, but extended polling hours only to 6:30 p.m., to allow everyone in line, about 200 people, to vote.

Nore Ghibaudy, with the Jefferson County Board of Elections, said, “Even the folks that came in with the second group, once they got in they were very cordial, they were very pleasant. They were out to vote, and I think that is great.”

Around 7 p.m., the last voters had cast their ballots.

The brief dispute was one of the few issues with voting in Kentucky yesterday, which saw a relatively smooth Election Day despite only one polling location per county – and both the governor and Secretary of State rejected allegations of voter suppression:

Gov. Andy Beshear … said the election plan was the “opposite” of voter suppression. He addressed the claims and concerns Monday, emphasizing that the state allowed mail-in voting and no-excuse early, in-person voting for the first time in the commonwealth’s history.

Kentucky’s Secretary of State, Michael Adams, agreed.

“The voters aren’t being suppressed,” Adams said. “They’re voting. And look at our turnout. Our turnout is through the roof. It’s the highest it’s ever been in a presidential primary election cycle.”

In Jefferson County, the number of absentee ballots requested for this primary surpassed the total number of votes in the county last year by more than 80,000.

It was an unusual day indeed in the Bluegrass State – and now the focus will shift to counting ballots and looking ahead to what if any adjustments to yesterday’s plan will be necessary in November. Stay tuned…

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