Look, I also want to know who won McGrath v Booker. But we won’t know until next Tuesday, ”University of Kentucky professor of electoral law Josh Douglas tweeted Thursday. “Tons of ballots are still being processed and counted. The first numbers really don’t indicate anything. “
Both campaigns expressed optimism on Thursday but warned it was too early to know who had won Tuesday’s election. Booker said he felt he was in a “strong position” in the early results.
“We will have to wait a few days to get the final results, but we are excited by what we are already seeing in the first returns,” he said in a statement sent to reporters after he approached McGrath.
Mark Nickolas, campaign manager for McGrath, had a similar message.
“We are looking forward to the absentee ballot counts coming in, which is 90 percent of the total vote,” Nickolas said. “In the counties that already reported them, Amy is winning by huge margins, so we feel great about the result.”
Booker performed well on Election Day voting, which accounts for most of what has been released so far, probably thanks to his late increase in the final weeks of the race. He won almost 80 percent of the vote in Louisville and more than 70 percent in Fayette County, which includes Lexington.
Those high margins may not necessarily translate to absentee ballots, which account for the vast majority of votes. In the Jefferson County Election Day in-person vote, for example, Booker got just over 8,300 votes, while McGrath had just under 1,700 votes.
But the county has already received approximately 161,000 absentee ballots for both sides’ primaries as of Thursday morning, according to Nore Ghibaudy, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Clerk’s office. Ballots that were postmarked before Election Day can still be received until 6 p.m. Saturday, and the county sent more than 200,000 ballots in absentia, which means they could still go up to 40,000 more ballots.
The Election Day in-person vote “is not a great display,” Ghibaudy said. She said the county planned to report all of its absentee ballots on June 30.
Statewide, more than 681,000 absentee ballots have been returned to county clerks, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Booker’s rise in the final weeks of the race came during the period when voters were able to return ballots, meaning some voters may have voted before their momentum started to rise, though it’s hard to estimate how many.
Several counties have released some absentee ballots, which appear to have some benefit to McGrath. For example, Montgomery County, east of Lexington, tabulated around 3,000 votes, according to counts by The Associated Press, including Election Day and some, but not all, absentee votes, which may still come in the next two days. McGrath leads that county with 48 percent of the vote.
But in neighboring Clark County, only election day votes have been tabulated from the polling place. Booker leads with around 50 percent, but the AP count is only around 400 votes.