LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An election that usually doesn't bring much attention is creating controversy.
Friday, the State Board of Elections, Secretary of State Michael Adams and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Marty Pollio will meet to discuss using schools as additional polling places next month; the meeting comes after the board rejected Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw’s plan for the special election to replace U.S. Representative Morgan McGarvey's empty state senate seat.
Holsclaw didn’t hold back her displeasure while speaking at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
"I think it's irresponsible,” she said. “I think we have some political grandstanding going on. They want locations where they think their voters are going to turn out. And that's both parties.”
Holsclaw and Adams are both republicans.
Her plan would open four locations for voting for the 19th district's nearly 100,000 constituents.
“They are good locations, convenient locations,” she said.
Holsclaw said she should have been included in the upcoming meeting between the State Board of Elections, Adams and Pollio. She also claimed the move is rooted in re-election aspirations.
“Well, I think you have to realize Michael Adams is running for secretary of state again,” Holsclaw said.
She said Pollio told her using the schools as early voting sites was not an option in September 2021.
In a statement, JCPS confirms this meeting, but said it "has always been willing to provide schools as polling locations as long as the voting takes place when students are not in school."
Schools are always closed on Election Day, but not during early voting. They are already closed on the date of the special election, Feb. 21.
In another statement, Adams said Holsclaw "neglected to request that JCPS allow schools to serve as voting locations on Feb. 21, a day classes are not scheduled.” Adams ended his statement, saying, “My hope is that the clerk's office will take yes for an answer once we've secured additional voting locations."
During the press conference, Holsclaw said she is willing to work with Adams and Pollio and hear the plan they come up with.
WHAS11 caught up with U.S. representative Morgan McGarvey, who vacated the District 19 seat.
"We want people to participate in our democracy,” he said. “We want people to vote.”
McGarvey said the plan’s rejection isn’t political.
"You have the republican secretary of state, the bipartisan board of elections, unanimously agreeing there are too few places in the district to vote,” he said.
McGarvey said the plan doesn't include enough polling locations, and two of the four are not within the district.
Holsclaw said each location is within five minutes of voters.
She said she expects voter turnout to be low, and for additional locations to be a waste of taxpayer dollars. She points to only 60 absentee ballots being requested so far.
The special election is between Democrat Cassie Chambers Armstrong and Republican Misty Glin.
See JCPS’ full statement below:
The last time Dr. Marty Pollio talked with the Jefferson County Clerk was September 15, 2021. At that time, Clerk Holsclaw asked Dr. Pollio to close schools for three days to accommodate polling places for the May, 2022 primary election. Dr. Pollio told the Clerk we could not close schools for three days to accommodate this request. This month, Governor Beshear reached out to Dr. Pollio to see if schools could be used for a special election February 21st, and Dr. Pollio said “yes” since there is no school in JCPS on that day. JCPS has always been willing to provide schools as polling locations as long as the voting takes place when students are not in school, there is no need for extra security and our gymnasiums, cafeterias and auditoriums are not being used by our students.
See Michael Adams’ full statement below:
"The Jefferson County Clerk's Office neglected to request that JCPS allow schools to serve as voting locations on Feb. 21, a day classes are not scheduled. This oversight resulted in a proposal to open only 4 voting locations for a district of nearly 100,000 voters. I am feverishly working to remedy this situation and am grateful to Superintendent Pollio for his assistance. My hope is that the clerk's office will take yes for an answer once we've secured additional voting locations.
Important dates to know
This year's special election will take place on Feb. 21 from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Remember, if you're in line at your polling location by 6 p.m., you can still vote!
The last day to register to vote in this election is Jan. 23.
If you're looking to vote by mail, you have until Feb. 7 to request a ballot, if you meet certain requirements. Drop off ballots can be found at polling locations.
Early in-person, no excuse, absentee voting will be available on Feb. 16, 17 and 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at each polling location.
Here's where you can vote:
The Arterburn (formerly the St. Matthews Community Center)
310 Ten Pin, 40207
The Jefferson County Central Government Center
7201 Outer Loop, 40228
Cyril Allgeier Community Center
4101 Cadillac Court, 40213
The Jefferson County Clerk's Election Center
1000 East Liberty Street, 40204
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