Long lines at McCracken County’s Caucus

Anything but low turnout, seems like the trend for Kentucky’s first Republican presidential caucus. The lines were out the door at McCracken County’s caucus.

1.3 million Republicans in the state could cast their vote Saturday for a Republican presidential nominee. The deadline to register as a Republican to be eligible to vote was December 31st, 2015. Just in McCracken County 394 people registered Republican in the last month leading up to that deadline.

Three sisters, Jessica, Amber, and Carla Snow stood fourth in line to vote for Donald Trump.

“We got here around 8 o’clock because number one we wanted to make sure Donald Trump gets into office," Carla Snow said.

Dorothy Henry is casting her vote for Marco Rubio.

“I am happy that we are having a caucus and I am surprised at the turnout,” Henry said.

Turnout for a traditional Kentucky primary is low partly because there’s a clear frontrunner.

“I think we do have an advantage to have it now because I do think it can have more impact on elections than further down the road,” Fletcher said.

Frank Fletcher changed his mind this week. He’s voting for John Kasich.

Since this is a caucus everyone here is a Republican, meaning you can have different booths campaigning inside a polling place versus a primary where you have both Republicans and Democrats.

“It’s very interesting because you are able to talk to people more,” Rosemary Keele said.

Ted Cruz supporters Rosemary and David Keele say the Republican Party did a great job organizing and promoting this caucus.

“I think we are going to be surprised at the turnout we have, I think it is going to be overwhelming,” David Keele said.

McCracken County Republican Party Caucus Chair Ulla Schierhorn says her team worked for weeks to make sure no one would miss the opportunity.

“We did a lot of advertising. We had it in the papers. We had it on TV. We had it all over social media,” Schierhorn said.

Caucus votes are counted by hand as the day goes by rather than digitally scanned like a primary or a general election. Schierhorn says there are 3 people that read the results together to make sure the votes are accurate.

“We have a tabulating team in the back that’s 3 people. One reads the numbers of the names, and two of them counts, and then another person is here to check it,” Schierhorn said.

 A presidential caucus was in held in Kentucky because of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. He was running for president and re-election to his senate seat, but state law prevented him from appearing on the ballot twice in the same election.

To avoid a legal challenge, Paul convinced state party leaders to hold a caucus. He had to pay for it himself, $250,000 to cover the party’s expenses.

Paul dropped out of the presidential race in early February, even though his name still appears on the ballot. Any votes for the candidates who have suspended their campaigns do not count.

The state’s 46 delegates will be awarded proportionally meaning it is not a winner take all. Any candidate who has at least five percent of the vote will receive delegates. The final delegate count awarded to each candidate won’t be decided until all votes are counted. 

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