Woodford tilts to GOP
Woodford County voters played a role in helping state and federal GOP candidates pull off big victories on Election Day. The totals aren’t final – absentee ballots postmarked by Tuesday and received by county clerks by close of business Friday will count – but the election seems, as of Wednesday morning, to be a victory for Republicans across the board. Among the projected winners in Woodford County and statewide are President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. U.S. Rep. Andy Barr won reelection by defeating Josh Hicks. Adrienne Southworth appears to have defeated Democrat Joe Graviss and Independent Ken Carroll in the state 7th Senate District, and Dan Fister, a Woodford County resident, was leading Democrat Lamar Allen in the race for the 56th state House District. In the nonpartisan races for Versailles City Council and Midway City Council, most incumbents fared well. The top six finishers in Versailles, as of Tuesday night, were Councilmember Fred Siegelman, Lisa Johnson, Councilmembers Mary Bradley, Mike Coleman and Laura Dake, and Aaron Smither. In Midway, the top six were Councilmember Stacy Thurman, Mary Raglin, Councilmembers Sara Hicks, Logan Nance, Kaye Nita Gallagher, and Steve Simoff. Woodford County Board of Education races were led by Amanda Glass in District 1 and Sherri Springate in District 4. In District 3, Angela McKale was unopposed. The results of the local races, with smaller vote totals, are more likely to change change after all the mail-in ballots are counted. Tuesday With everything going on in the country, Versailles resident Ron Preston said it was even more important to vote this year – although he usually votes every year. “One vote may make a difference,” he said. Preston didn’t vote until Tuesday because he’s been busy at work, he said. Diane Jeffers said she and her husband, who also live in Versailles, prefer voting in-person on Election Day because that’s what they’ve always done. “There’s less chance of fraud (compared to) mail-in voting,” added Steve Jeffers. “This way, you really feel that your vote counts and it’s not going to get lost in the shuffle or dropped off at a dumpster somewhere. That’s the main reason.” At 23, their grandson, Tyler Jeffers, said he’s been voting for four or five years. “My vote counts as well … It’s more secure that my votes going to count …” he said of in-person voting. Woodford County Clerk Sandy Jones said her staff was prepared for a 75 percent turnout as recommended by the state Board of Elections. Based on the number of absentee ballot requests and returns, and early in-person voting at the Woodford County Courthouse since Oct. 13, her staff was ready for 3,000 to 5,000 voters on Election Day, she said. “So we were equipped to handle it because I did not want any long lines,” said Jones. She said having two sites where people could vote has helped, and there has been heavier turnout in the morning and at lunchtime. “The main goal,” she added, “was to do it so that we would have complete safety and everybody would be spread out. It may look like I’m over-prepared but in my mind’s eye, it’s being prepared for safety.” Leaving the Falling Springs Arts and Recreation Center after he voted, Preston said, “I was really surprised how quick it was – easy and safe. It was really safe in there.” Rick Wade, who works at the courthouse, said he voted early by mail because it’s so easy to do. He also knew there might be a large number of voters Tuesday. He estimated around 100 or 150 people were lined up at Falling Springs to vote when the polls opened there at 6 Tuesday morning. Wade, who has voted in every election since he turned 18, said this year’s election had “a lot more rhetoric” than other elections. “It tends to turn me off, but I’m always going to vote,” he said. Even in the midst of a pandemic, there was no issue with getting poll workers in Woodford County, Jones said. “We have very committed, civic-minded election officers who have done this for years,” she said. “They do it because they love the election process, and they want what’s best for Woodford County.” She acknowledged that some poll workers did not feel comfortable doing the job this year because of their age or underlying health issues that put them at greater risk of being sickened by the coronavirus. “We still weren’t short,” she said. Jones said she did not anticipate much of a delay in when ballots will be processed – maybe an hour or so later than other years – and votes counted on Tuesday night.