Both supporters and opponents of Tennessee’s voter ID law are pointing to newly released statewide data to bolster their positions. Nearly four out of five provisional ballots cast in the Volunteer State last November were tossed out.
The Republican-backed voter ID law was passed in 2011. Supporters say it’s an effort to ensure voter integrity and prevent election fraud. Opponents say it’s an attempt to suppress voting among traditional Democratic constituencies, including the urban poor who sometimes don’t have a government-issued photo ID.
Under the Tennessee law, those who experience trouble at the polls on Election Day are allowed to cast a provisional ballot which will be counted later if election officials determine the person casting the ballot is a legitimate voter. According to the data released this week, a little over 1,600—or 23%--of the more than 7,000 provisional ballots cast in Tennessee last November were ultimately counted.
A Nashville civil rights lawyer told The Tennessean those numbers show some voters were disenfranchised.
Republican state Rep. Sara Beth Gregory has won a special election for a Senate seat from southern Kentucky, defeating Williamsburg teacher and Democrat Bill Conn by more than a 4-1 margin to replace former Sen. David Williams.
In unofficial returns from Tuesday's balloting, Gregory received 6,244 votes to 1,440 for Conn, who was making his first run for public office.
The heavily Republican 16th District includes Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties, along the southern Kentucky border. Gregory, an attorney, was elected last year to represent the 52nd House District that covers McCreary and Wayne counties and part of Pulaski County and won a second term on Nov. 6.
Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson will not be a Democratic Senate candidate in 2014, taking on the nation's most powerful Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Abramson says having served about a quarter-century as Louisville Mayor before taking on his current post, he sees himself more as an executive, than a legislator.
Democrats and Republicans have nominated candidates to run for an open Senate seat in southern Kentucky. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that officials from each political party had separate meetings on Thursday and approved the nominations of Republican state Rep. Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello and Democrat Bill Conn, a teacher in Williamsburg who is making his first run for public office.
A recanvass of votes does not change the outcome of a state House race in western Kentucky. Election officials in Daviess, Union, and Henderson counties re-calculated votes Thursday and the outcome revealed the same margin of victory for the incumbent.
Three Western Kentucky counties will hold a recanvass of votes in a state House race decided last Tuesday where the incumbent was re-elected by the slimmest of margins. Sturgis Democrat John Arnold beat Republican challenger Tim Kline of Owensboro by a mere five votes.
Gov. Steve Beshear has scheduled an election for Dec. 18 to replace former state Sen. David Williams in southern Kentucky's 16th District. Two potential candidates have already announced they will seek the Republican nomination for the seat left vacant when Williams accepted an appointment to become a circuit judge.
A longtime member of the Kentucky Senate and a political newcomer running for the state House aren't conceding after Tuesday's election results showed them trailing their opponents by slim margins. Democratic Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville said Wednesday he will request a recanvass of votes. He trailed Republican challenger Whitney Westerfield by 297 votes out of 36,617 cast.