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Calloway County’s primary primer

By Laura Ray/For the Sentinel

MURRAY – Kentucky’s primary election is on Tuesday, May 21. Primary elections help select candidates who will be on the general election ballot in November. Kentucky has closed primaries, which means that only individuals registered as Democrats or Republicans can vote in partisan races.

According to the Calloway County Clerk’s Office, Calloway County’s sample ballot was certified at the state level on Jan. 16, 2024. Ballots include U.S. Presidential candidates for the Democratic and Republican parties as well as candidates for Kentucky’s 1st Senatorial District. In the Republican primary, current First District State Sen. Jason Howell (R-Murray) is running for re-election, challenged by Lynn Bechler, of Marion. No Democrats are running for Senate in the 1st District.

Although they have all since dropped out of the presidential race, Ryan Binkley, of Texas; Vivek Ramaswamy, of Ohio; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley are all listed on the ballot alongside 2024 Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump.

In the Democratic primary, Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson are listed as challengers to President Joe Biden; however, both have dropped out since the sample ballots were approved. Although Biden is the nominee and there are no other primary races to be determined, Democrats still have a reason to show up for the primaries, as the voter turnout determines how many delegates are sent to the Democratic National Convention.

Delegates play a pivotal role in representing their state’s choice during the national party convention. They cast their votes based on the preferences expressed by voters in their respective states’ primaries. Republican primaries employ a winner-takes-all model where the candidate securing the highest number of votes receives all delegates.

While closed primaries better ensure that only committed party members can impact the nomination process, open primaries that include independent voters and members of third parties can increase participation. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s report on 2022 primary turnout, “A state’s switch from closed to open primaries boosts voter turnout by nearly two percentage points on average.”

For voters who were eligible to receive an absentee ballot, in-person excused absentee voting takes place through next Wednesday (excluding Saturday and Sunday) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Calloway County Clerk’s Office, located at 101 South 5th St.

Did you know you can vote before May 21, no excuse required? In-person, no excuse early voting is available at the Robert O. Miller Courthouse Annex, 201 South 4th St., on the following dates:

Thursday, May 16, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday, May 17, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, May 18, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The following Election Day polling locations will be open to registered voters of all precincts on May 21, 2024:

CFSB Center

1401 KY 121 N

Murray, KY 42071

New Concord Church of Christ

121 Artesian Dr.

New Concord, KY 42076

Elm Grove Baptist Church

6483 KY 94 E

Murray, KY 42071

Hazel Baptist Church

101 3rd St.

Hazel, KY 42049

Southwest Elementary School

3426 Wiswell Rd.

Murray, KY 42071

North Elementary School

2928 Brinn Rd.

Murray, KY 42071

Kirksey Baptist Church

301 Backusburg Rd.

Kirksey, KY 42054

Murray High School

501 Doran Rd.

Murray, KY 42071

No matter when or where you vote, remember to bring proof of identification. In addition to a valid driver’s license and state-issued ID card, other forms of identification are acceptable, such as work or school IDs.

Sentinel Staff

Jessica Paine
I’m Jessica Paine, founder of The Murray Sentinel. You may know me from my time as a citizen journalist, running the Calloway Covid-19 Count page on Facebook, or you may be familiar with my more recent work for another local news outlet. Being that I’m “from here,” you may have known me since I was “knee-high to a grasshopper,” although you knew me as Jessica Jones. But whether you know me or not, I’m glad you found your way here.


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