Jefferson County Clerk addresses state rejection for special Senate race

Plans for the special election were vetoed by Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams due to insufficient polling locations.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:48 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Days after the Kentucky Board of Elections rejected a proposal by Jefferson County for February’s special state Senate election, Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw addressed the new developments.

The special election for Feb. 21 was to fill State Senator Morgan McGarvey’s vacant seat after being named Kentucky’s 3rd district congressman in the 2022 general elections.

However, plans for the special election were vetoed by Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, stating Louisville officials did not provide enough voting locations.

Holsclaw said her office submitted its proposal on Dec. 22, but Adams’ office did not review it until Jan. 17.

Adams’ office denied the statement made by Holsclaw, and claimed the Jefferson County Board of Elections did not vote on the plan until 30 minutes before the State Board of Elections meeting.

“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,” Adams said in a statement. “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.”

The Jefferson County Board of Elections said it is working to see if additional locations can be added.

On Tuesday, Adams reached out to JCPS superintendent Marty Pollio to see if JCPS schools could be used as additional polling locations.

Holsclaw said her biggest priority is making sure all elections are convenient for voters.

“We have not plans to change the locations,” Holsclaw said. “What we have when Secretary Adams meets with (Pollio), and they decide they have schools, we will do our best to work with them. I thought this was a team effort. It was on my part.”

On Tuesday evening, JCPS released a statement saying the last time the district was in contact with the Jefferson County Clerk was on Sept. 15, 2021 for the May 2022 primary elections.

The clerk’s request to accommodate polling locations for that election was denied as the schools could not be closed for three days.

JCPS said it had been reached out to by Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear earlier this month to see if the schools could be used for the Feb. 21 special election, which Pollio approved as schools would be closed 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,” the district said.

If the Jefferson County Clerk uses JCPS for additional polling locations, the new special election plan must be sent to Adams’ office for approval.