Al Cunningham inched past Linda Stacy Edwards by 31 votes to win the Democratic Party nomination for the District 6 seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Cunningham took in 2,931 votes to Edwards’ 2,900, garnering 50.27% of the vote.
In Marshall County voting, Edwards got 2,294 votes to Cunningham’s 2,125. Both candidates are from Marshall County.
Cunningham will face Republican incumbent Chris Freeland of Benton. District 6 represents all of Marshall and Lyon counties and a small part of southeastern McCracken County.
Cunningham, who lived briefly in Lyon County, won on that county’s ballots, earning 688 votes to Edwards’ 459. In McCracken County, Edwards had 147 votes to Cunningham’s 118.
Marshall County had a 29.06% voter participation rate in the 2020 primary election, third-highest among the eight Jackson Purchase counties. Of Marshall’s 26,026 registered voters, 7,564 took part in the election through absentee balloting or voting in person.
Precautions over the spread of COVID-19 led not only to moving the primary election day from May 19 to June 23 but also to several options for voters to take part in the election process.
Voters were given until June 15 to apply for absentee ballots, which they could mail in at any time or deliver in person to the courthouse up to June 23. They could also vote in person at Marshall County High School on Election Day.
Marshall County Clerk Tim York said that for him, the learning process took place on Tater Day, which was canceled due to COVID-19 precautions.
“At that time, we didn’t think there was going to be any in-person voting,” he said. “It was going to be a 100% mail-in election. It got muddied as time went on to where it was kind of a hybrid between what we had and whatever you wanted to do as a voter.”
York said that the methods used in the primary election have him worried for the general election on Nov. 3.
“We voted about 7,000 people or whatever, and in November, I fully expect that we’ll vote 18,000,” he said. “That’s an order of magnitude greater as far as when you start thinking about if we have to mail out ballots. I had to hire a group of four people to do the part where we got the ballots in and we had to run them through the scanners. I had to hire a couple of people pretty much full-time to handle walk-in absentee plus synchronizing getting the ballots out. I had high school people that stuffed the ballots.
“That’s a lot of help. Normally, it’s just me, and I’ve got one election deputy in the county. We’ve got a lot of motor vehicle people and a lot of people recording. It was difficult in that regard. What happens if, in November, instead of mailing out 6,000 ballots, I’m mailing out 15,000?”
York said the fiscal courtroom was used to put ballots in envelopes to be mailed out to voters who requested them. He added that they spent about $7,500 on postage alone and thought that it would cost three times that in the general election.
“I don’t think there’s any way we can’t have precincts open in November,” he said. “If we do that, we’ll spend all of our money on poll workers, assuming we can talk enough poll workers into working.
“Everything comes down to money, and there’s just not enough available.”
York said there would also be more races on the November ballot, including city council, school board and constable races. The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 5.
The results from Marshall County voting in the June 23 primary election are:
• President: Rep.: Trump 2,515, uncommitted 211; Dem.: Biden 2,363, Sanders 300, Buttigieg 78, Bloomberg 77, Klobuchar 77, Yang 75, Gabbard 64, Warren 62, Steyer 48, Delaney 36, Bennet 31, Patrick 18, uncommitted 1,085.
• U.S. Senator: Rep.: McConnell 2,345, Morgan 145, Frangedakis 49, Crow 40, Alsager 38, Grider 36, James 20, Lowndes 15; Dem.: McGrath 2,435, Booker 985, Tobin 208, Broihier 143, Smith 142, Ausbrooks 110, Hilliard 90, Maynard 60, Sharpensteen 40, Rothmuller 33.
• State Representative, District 6: Edwards 2,294, Cunningham 2,125.
• Judge, Court of Appeals, 1st District: McNeill 2,839, Hines 2,257, Williams 762, Coltharp 658.
• Circuit Judge, Family Court, 42nd Circuit: Perlow 3,563, Yates 1,206, Fuller 647.