CORBIN — By Jeff Noble, Carl Keith Greene and Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writers
As election day gets underway, clerks and elections boards are busy counting absentee ballots and gearing up for the final results that will pour in after the polls close at 6 p.m. this evening.
Voting in Knox County has been "very light" this morning, according to County Court Clerk Mike Corey.
Corey said the lack of local races is the reason for the low turnout so far.
"According to every report I've had, it's very light. Based of what I'm hearing it won't be ten percent. It might pick up in this area later in the day," said Corey during a phone interview around 11:30 a.m.
There are three races in Knox County that voters can choose from.
One is for the Democratic nominee for the 5th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives where incumbent Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers of Somerset awaits the outcome.
For the Democrats, perennial candidate Kenneth S. Stepp of Manchester is being challenged by Michael Ackerman of Morehead, who is making his first Congressional run.
The winner will face Rogers in November. Rogers, who is in his 16th straight term in Washington, has no GOP opposition.
As for the Presidential primaries, Republicans have five choices on the ballot. They include former Massachusetts Governor and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Georgia Congressman and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, current Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, and "uncommitted."
Ron Paul is the father of Kentucky's junior U.S. Senator, Rand Paul of Bowling Green.
For the Democrats, the Presidential choices are two. They include incumbent President Barack Obama, and "uncommitted".
Along with the low turnout so far, Corey noted the voting's been going smoothly in Knox County, where voters in 30 precincts are casting their ballots at 25 polling places.
"We have had no complaints of electioneering, and no major problems with machines that's disrupted voting," said Corey.
Voting continues in Knox County until the polls close at 6 p.m. this evening.
Whitley County's voting seems to be light as well, with absentee votes down from last year, according to Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz.
Schwartz reported 137 mail-in absentee votes and another 101 from the Williamsburg absentee voting machine and 39 from Corbin's absentee voting machine.
"That's a little low," Schwartz said, saying she could recall a time when they would receive around 220 to 300 mail-in votes alone.
Williamsburg has plenty of candidates to choose from in the county attorney race, with incumbent Don Moses, Bob Hammons and Graham Trimble all vying for the position. In the circuit court race, incumbent Gary Barton is being challenged by Bobby Blakley.
Votes should be tallied in the Whitley County races for county attorney and circuit court clerk by 7:30 or 8 p.m., according to Schwartz.
Things have gone smoothly Tuesday morning for Laurel County Clerk Dean Johnson.
He said by about 11:30 a.m. of the precincts he has checked, an average of about 25 votes have been cast.
The county has 46 precincts ranging from downtown London to as far as Hunter Hills School, Maplesville, the Swiss Colony and Blackwater.
Johnson said all the reports from the Laurel precincts should be in the clerk's office for counting by about 7:30 p.m.