New voting centers added for general election | Local News

More voting centers have been announced for the upcoming Nov. 8 general election.

The new centers will be at JT Alton Middle School in Vine Grove, John Hardin High School and East Hardin Middle School, bringing the total number of across the county to 10.

The previously announced seven sites are North Hardin High School, Pritchard Community Center, Lincoln Trail Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Creekside Elementary, West Point school building and West 84 Fire Department. Voters can go to any site convenient to them regardless of where they live in Hardin County.

Hardin County Clerk Debbie Donnelly said that during a conversation with Secretary of State Michael Adams, the suggestion of additional voting centers came up. She said she met with members of her election staff and arrangements followed soon for setting up additional sites.

But her opponent for the role of county clerk, Brian Smith, said that isn’t the whole story.

According to Smith, Donnelly submitted a plan to the Kentucky State Board of Elections with seven polling centers. Smith said he coordinated with other elected officials, including Vine Grove Mayor Pam Ogden, to add more polling locations.

Ogden made a post to the city’s Facebook page announcing the new polling location Sept. 12 and included a letter to Karen Sellers, executive director of the State Board of Elections. In the letter, Ogden petitions for a voting precinct to be added to Vine Grove, citing the city’s growth and problems created by the distance to the closest polling location for residents.

In the post, Ogden credits Smith for making her aware that the city wouldn’t have a voting precinct.

Donnelly disputed the social media statement attributed to Ogden in an interview Tuesday with The News-Enterprise. She said the new sites were placed in larger voting areas to better serve Vine Grove, the Pine Valley and Helm precincts near John Hardin and residents in Valley Creek and South Dixie precincts which are near East Hardin on New Glendale Road.

The topic was addressed by both candidates at Saturday’s Brushy Fork Political Forum in Vine Grove.

“The secretary of state said, ‘Debbie, do you want to open more?’ ” Donnelly, who spoke before Smith, said at the forum. “He said, ‘Think about it overnight and give me a call over the next day and let me know.’ ”

When Smith took the stage, he said he reached out to his contacts in Frankfort, rallied local leaders and encouraged a push for polling places in Vine Grove and other parts of the county, again referencing Donnelly’s originally submitted plan with seven locations.

“That’s one (location) for every 13,000 registered voters in Hardin County,” he said.

Smith said he lobbied the county needed no less than 20 to 25 locations and called the three additional polling locations a “partial victory.”

He said he felt Donnelly led Brushy Fork attendees to believe the decisions she has made about local elections were made by someone else at the state level.

The deadline to register to vote for the general election is 4 pm Oct. 11. It can be completed at the clerk’s office or online at

All voting will be conducted by paper ballot. New machines which ensure a paper trail to confirm any vote was acquired and Hardin County will no longer use any electronic voting machines, Donnelly said.

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