Independent, ‘other’ voters on the rise in Kentucky

Published 12:54 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023


Kentucky Today

Secretary of State Michael Adams announced on Friday that in December, and for the first time ever, Kentucky voter registrations under “other” political affiliations (those who are not registered as either Democrats or Republicans) has broken the 10% mark.

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In December, Kentucky saw 6,103 new voters register. At the same time, 5,594 voters were removed from the rolls: 3,686 were deceased voters, 1,429 who moved out of state, 391 who had felony convictions, 44 who voluntarily de-registered, 43 who were adjudged mentally incompetent and one duplicate registration. That resulted in a net gain of 509 voters during the month.

“Candidates for statewide office should take notice,” Adams stated, “to win a general election, they must reach out beyond their base and court the fastest-growing block of the electorate.”

Breaking down the December figures, Republican registrants now account for 45.5% of the electorate with 1,635,938 voters. Republican registration rose by 2,048 voters, a 0.13% increase. Democratic registrants account for 44.5% of the electorate, with 1,600,466 voters. Democratic registration dropped by 2,892 voters, a 0.18 percent decrease. Voters registered as Independent or with other affiliations account for 10 percent of the electorate, with 358,336 voters. “Other” registration increased by 1,353 voters, or 0.38 percent.

In Bell County, there were 7,159 registered Democrats, 12,264 registered Republicans and 941 others and 334 independents, compared with 12,254 Republicans, 7,161 Democrats and 936 others and 333 independents the previous month.

Also on Friday, the State Board of Elections approved a revised plan for the Feb. 21 special State Senate election in Jefferson County.

A dispute over the number of polling places for the special election sparked a rift between two Republican election officials, Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw and Adams.

Holsclaw had proposed four sites in the race to succeed Democrat Morgan McGarvey, who resigned his 19th District State Senate seat after winning the 3rd District Congressional race last November. But the State Board of Elections rejected that plan. Adams, who chairs the state board, said having only four locations for a Senate district of nearly 100,000 voters was not enough.

Eight schools were made available by the Jefferson County Public Schools: Atherton High School, Audubon Elementary, Hawthorne Elementary, Highland Middle School, Seneca High School, Smyrna Elementary, Southern High School and Watterson Elementary.

This is in addition to the four locations originally proposed by Holsclaw: the Cyril Allgeier Community Center, the Central Government Center, the Saint Matthews Community Center and the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office Election Center.

The four locations also will serve as early voting locations on Feb. 16, 17 and 18 under legislation passed by state lawmakers in 2021.