Secretary of State
Students Make Their Choices for Governor, Hundreds Register to Vote
(Frankfort, KY) Students at Kentucky’s public universities have made their choices known for their preferred nominees in the 2007 Kentucky Gubernatorial primary. Students mirrored current media polls across the state showing tight races in both the Republican and Democratic primaries with the slates headed by Governor Ernie Fletcher and Treasurer Jonathan Miller winning each primary, respectively. The mock election was sponsored by the Office of Secretary of State Trey Grayson as part of the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky (CLIK).
“We were delighted that so many students took time out of their busy college schedules to participate in the mock election, register to vote, and learn more about absentee voting,” remarked Secretary Grayson. “We hope that this will begin a lifelong commitment to voting among these young people.”
The voter percentages for each candidate slate were as follows:
Ernie Fletcher/Robbie Rudolph - 44.6%
Billy Harper/Dick Wilson – 15.1%
Anne Northup/Jeff Hoover – 40.3%
Steven Beshear/Daniel Mongiardo – 15.2%
Gatewood Galbraith/Mark Wireman – 9.3%
Stephen Henry/Renee True – 7.1%
Otis “Bullman” Hensley/Richard Robbins – 7.6%
William Bruce Lunsford/Gregory Stumbo – 9.3%
Jonathan Miller/Irv Maze – 35.0%
Jody Richards/John Y. Brown, III – 16.4%
Under Kentucky law, there would be a primary runoff election in the Democratic party because the top candidate failed to garner forty percent of the vote. Thus, in this mock primary, Treasurer Jonathan Miller’s slate and Speaker Jody Richards’s slate would face another election to determine the Democratic Party nominee. Due to the short time frame before many universities’ final examination period, the Office of the Secretary of State will not be conducting a runoff election on the respective college campuses. Governor Ernie Fletcher’s slate would be the Republican nominees for the general election because his slate received over forty percent of the vote and received the most votes.
Seven universities participated in the mock primary tour: Kentucky State University, Western Kentucky University, Murray State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Louisville. The Office of the Secretary of State partnered with the Student Government Associations, College Democrats, and College Republicans on each campus to publicize the event. Over 750 students participated.
A staff member for the Office of the Secretary of State was on hand at each university to demonstrate one of the state’s common electronic voting machines, help first time voters register in their home precincts, and answer questions about absentee voting. In addition, students from each campus were on hand to discuss candidate backgrounds and platforms with students.
“The primary falls on the cusp of summer and immediately before Memorial Day Weekend, a time when most young people are not thinking about elections,” stated Secretary of State Trey Grayson. “My hope is that in hosting mock primaries, we will increase awareness of the elections and remind college age students that their voices are important.”
Grayson directs the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky, a multi-year effort that will determine a strategy for enhancing long-term civic engagement and civic literacy within the Commonwealth. As part of that effort, he released a report, Rediscovering Democracy: An Agenda for Action, that calls upon the state to take tangible steps to increase civic literacy. The report, which details four principle recommendations and scores of additional recommendations, was developed from the work of the Kentucky Workgroup on Civic Literacy and the CLIK.
A focus on the report is increased technology in order to further engage students in the political process. Grayson’s office has an international award-winning website with increased online election services so that information is readily available for Kentucky citizens 24 hours-a-day/7 days-a-week. Grayson is also a pioneer in using popular mediums such as Facebook to make the political system more approachable to young people. During the 2006 election cycle, he created a national Facebook group to remind students to register to vote, request absentee ballots, and to turn out to vote on Election Day.
“By involving students in the democratic process, we wish to not only energize young people to vote, but to also remind their family and friends about the importance of voting on May 22, 2007,” said Secretary Grayson.
# # #