The first reviews are in on Hopkins County’s newly tricked-up wheels.
“It’s OK. It seems to be moving pretty fast,” Recee Murphy of Madisonville said Wednesday.
“It was easy, quick, smooth and safe,” Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton said. “Amazing.”
“Easy and sanitary,” Sheriff Matt Sanderson added on Facebook.
All of them marked Kentucky Primary ballots on the first morning of early voting by visiting the new mobile unit. A converted Emergency Management trailer was set up with four precinct workers outside Melody Lanes in Madisonville.
County Clerk Keenan Cloern called mobile voting a “super-great thing” during the city-county coronavirus briefing on Facebook Live. It’s one of several new options which have opened since Gov. Andy Beshear postponed the primary to avoid spreading the virus.
Hundreds of people seem to agree with Cloern. The clerk’s aides said more than 250 people had stopped by to vote by noon. By 3 p.m., the number was 475.
“We expected to have a good turnout,” Deputy Clerk Jenny Menser said, “but not quite this good.”
“Drive up, walk through, get it done,” Murphy said. “It was very organized.”
The primary is closed, with registered Democrats getting one ballot and registered Republicans another. Independents can join both parties in voting for an appeals court judge seat which became vacant when Christopher Shea Nickell joined the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Only two other races are on the primary ballot. For President, the only Republican alternative to President Trump is “uncommitted” — as in convention delegates.
Democrats have 12 choices, on a list that may appear like it’s been frozen since February. Candidates such as Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren have ended their campaigns and endorsed Joseph Biden.
“They have not been removed from the ballot because they had withdrawn after the deadline,” Cloern said during Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting.
Cloern will receive a list of surrendered candidates from the Kentucky Secretary of State before the new primary date of Tuesday, June 23.
“It won’t count for that particular candidate,” Cloern said Tuesday, if someone votes for a candidate who has given up. Those votes will not be shifted to Biden.
Magistrate Charlie Beshears advised people to “do some research before they go to the polls.”
The other big primary race is for U.S. Senate. Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell has seven primary opponents. But his campaign ads have been aimed at Amy McGrath, who is one of 10 Democrats in the running.
The only disappointment from early voting Wednesday may have been for Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield Jr. He owns Melody Lanes, but couldn’t open the business for voters. Bowling centers remain closed by orders from Beshear until Monday, June 1.
“You can’t vote, then bowl and get a hamburger,” Whitfield said during the briefing. Voters had to settle for a coffee truck parked a short walk from the exit.
The “voting truck,” as even Cloern is starting to call it, will roll around Hopkins County in the weeks leading to the rescheduled primary. The next scheduled stop is Friday at Veterans Park in Dawson Springs, subject to weather.