LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Charles Booker’s and Amy McGrath’s campaigns both filed injunctions Tuesday evening to keep Jefferson County’s only polling location open late to accommodate voters still hoping to cast their ballots.
At about 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, however, Booker’s campaign manager tweeted that the extension request had been denied:
Polls began closing around the state at 6 p.m. EDT, but a crowd of about 200 people were outside the Kentucky Exposition Center, prompting Booker to request the extension. McGrath followed suit a short time later.
A judge allowed those still waiting at the Expo Center, some banging on the windows hoping to get in, to continue filing in until 6:30 p.m. Booker’s injunction asked that the polls remain open until 9 p.m. Excited voters poured into the building until 6:30 p.m. amid cheers and tears.
And as Judge Annie O’Connell considered the matter, McGrath and Booker each used Twitter to urge voters to stay in line until a ruling was made:
(Story continues below the tweets)
“We all need to come together,” one mother said as she walked in. “I got a daughter right here. She’s 18 years old. She’s first-time voting. She didn’t have a graduation, no prom. Our children are the future and shouldn’t have to go through all this stuff we’re going through.”
At one point Tuesday afternoon, Louisville Orchestra Conductor Teddy Abrams greeted voters with some music.
“The whole point of having an orchestra is that we so often we stand up for the community at times exactly like this when we’re going through challenging experiences,” Abrams said. “When the city needs music, even in the smallest way to heal and bring us together, just a put a smile on someone’s face for a couple of seconds, that’s one of our jobs as musicians that have devoted ourselves to making music for this town.”
As first-time voters arrived to cast their votes, there were cheers from poll workers. Jaimauhry Wilson, a first-time voter, said she’s waited a long time to be able to cast her ballot.
“Because of everything that’s going on, I feel like it’s very important to elect leaders that we feel will do what we want in the country, and I just think that’s very important,” Wilson said.
McGrath, the establishment favorite, and Booker, the late-charging underdog, are among 10 Democrats bidding to challenge incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell in November. The others are Mike Broihier, Mary Ann Tobin, Andrew Maynard, Bennie Smith, Maggie Jo Hilliard, John Sharpensteen, Jimmy Ausbrooks and Eric Rothmuller.
The Kentucky Expo Center welcomed voters at 6 a.m. Tuesday, and the state had been promoting early voting and mail-in absentee voting for weeks. Some national media outlets criticized the fact that Jefferson County only offered the one voting location during the global health emergency, and celebrities tweeted their own assumptions from afar. The Expo Center opened Tuesday morning with more than 100 poll workers and 300+ voting booths available.
Tuesday afternoon, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams tweeted that the state was tracking toward its largest primary turnout in recent memory.
Booker’s supporters gathered at about 8:30 p.m. at Paristown Point, and he arrived to address them a short time later. You can watch that below.