Voters, poll workers say they turn out for ‘what makes America great’

Election Day scenes from Fayette and Scott counties

By: - November 7, 2023 4:25 pm

Voters waited their turn at Harrison Elementary School in Lexington Tuesday morning. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Matthew Mueller)

In downtown Lexington, lines of voters had formed by midmorning at the Harrison Elementary School polling site.

Greeting and guiding them was poll worker Eugene Young, 72, who said his military service had contributed to his conviction about the importance of voting.

“I’m a Vietnam veteran. I fought for this,” Young said surveying the Election Day scene. Young, who is Black, said, “I fought for a country I didn’t have freedom in myself. I want to make sure everyone (has) a choice.”

Young conversed with many of the voters, some of whom he knew from his neighborhood and through his active volunteering, including with the Bluegrass Trust and Salvation Army.

Residents of Connie Griffith Manor, a nearby public housing apartment complex for seniors, made their way to the polling site, some with help from volunteers organized by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a progressive grassroots organization.

“I’ve been voting ever since I’ve been old enough to vote,” said Elaine Marshall, 68, a resident of the apartment complex. “Because I was always told that your vote makes a difference, and to me it really does. I’ve been voting a long time, and I’m about to turn 69 years old.”

Tayna Fogle, 63, who represents Lexington’s District 1 on the Urban County Council and is lead organizer for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, was on hand to help apartment residents cross the street and walk to the school to cast their votes.

“We got some residents that have been voting 50 and 60 years that live here in this facility,” Fogle said.

Turnout at Harrison Elementary was more brisk than in the May primary, poll workers said. Chris Kelly, an election judge, said 193 voters had cast ballots by 9:18 a.m.

Nearby at the Salvation Army, home to Fayette County’s precinct A143, voting got off to a slow start. This did not dampen the attitude of Fayette County judge and polling site volunteer Mark Sok.

Sok said that he has been working on Election Day for 17 years.

“I vote every election. I have for my entire adult life,” Sok said. “I just believe in the process. I think that’s really what makes America great.”

He said being part of it is fun, and he interacts with great people all day.

One of these individuals is Ronita Taylor, 61, a Lexington native who has voted for the last 20 years and said voting gives people a say in the government.

She said that she hasn’t seen changes she’s hoped for within the past three years related to gun control or solving murders and assaults. “I just hope we get a good turnout, and everyone voices their opinion and comes out and really makes this election count,” Taylor said.

To the north, in neighboring Scott County, some voters were skeptical about whether politicians truly care about the people.

Adam Hawkins, 52, said he owns a small business, Oh Sew Cute, in downtown Georgetown and hopes that whoever wins the election can control inflation, as it affects small business owners like himself.

“It hasn’t affected me terribly yet, but it will,” Hawkins said. “I don’t raise my prices like most people with a small business would.”

Kentucky voters have until 6 p.m. on Nov. 7 to continue to cast their ballots, according to the State Board of Elections.

A voter approaches the the polling at Morton Middle School in Lexington. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Matthew Mueller)

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Alexis Baker
Alexis Baker

Alexis Baker is a sophomore journalism student at the University of Kentucky. She serves as the news editor for the Kentucky Kernel and frequently reports on crime, politics and breaking campus/local news. She is from Nicholasville, Kentucky.