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OUR VIEW: Record voter registration good news, work remains

Kentucky is breaking records in a good way.

Secretary of State Michael G. Adams announced Wednesday that Kentucky hit a record number of registered voters for the May primary.

According to the announcement, more than 3.4 million Kentuckians are registered to vote as of Jan. 31.

Democratic registrants represent just more than 48 percent of the electorate with more than 1.6 million registered voters. Republican registrants total more than 1.4 million or almost 43 percent of voters, and almost 9 percent of voters are listed under other affiliations.

Even better, there is still time to register to vote. April 20 is the last day to register to vote in the May 19 primary.

Registering to vote is easy. You can register at govoteky.com or at the county clerk’s office.

This increase in registered voters is a good sign that Kentuckians are eager to become more involved in the election process.

This is especially nice to see following an election that had relatively high voter turnout compared to recent years.

Unfortunately, even considerably high voter turnouts aren’t all that great in Kentucky or Clark County.

Voter turnout in the most recent election in November, which included the gubernatorial race between Gov. Andy Beshear and former governor Matt Bevin, was around 40 percent.

In Clark County, turnout was almost 44 percent. Of the 29,742 registered voters in the county, 13,022 cast ballots Tuesday. That’s up from about 31 percent the last time a governor’s race was on the ballot in 2015.

Now that we have so many registered voters, the key will be making sure these individuals actually make it to the polls.

Historically, less than half of registered voters are actually voting. Considering those numbers only account for those who are registered and not those who are eligible but not registered, a small percentage of eligible voters are making huge decisions for our state government.

These people are being elected to make important decisions about policy, spending and transparency in our state. They play a major role in our quality of life, attracting new businesses and more.

Several local and even state races were won by small percentages in the most recent election. The governor’s seat was decided by only about 5,000 votes.

So you can’t tell us the votes of those 16,000 Clark Countians and the thousands upon thousands across the state who didn’t vote don’t matter.

Your vote matters.

Voting is not only a right in our country, it’s a privilege. Many others around the world do not share this freedom, and yet, thousands in America take it for granted. It’s sad – there’s no other way to put it.

We are proud to see more people interested in being involved in this process. With a higher than normal voter turnout in the last election and now record-breaking registration for the primary, Kentucky is primed to see more voter involvement than ever before.

We hope that continues to be the case.

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. The board comprises publisher Michael Caldwell and Bluegrass Newsmedia editors Whitney Leggett and Ben Kleppinger. To inquire about a meeting with the board, contact Caldwell at 759-0095.