Kentucky voters head to polls, but in low numbers

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - Polls opened at 6 a.m. on Tuesday for Kentucky voters to elect a governor and a handful of other state-level leaders.

Secretary of State Elaine Walker has predicted that up to 75 percent of voters won't bother going to the polls despite the best efforts of candidates who have been trying to drum up support across the state.

Just more than 26,000 people had voted early using absentee ballots as of Monday. That was 10,000 fewer votes than had been cast at the same time in the 2007 governor's race.

Voters will choose between Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and two challengers, Republican David Williams and independent Gatewood Galbraith.

Beshear is facing his chief rival in Republican state Senate president David Williams, as well as an independent challenger who has trailed both in the polls.

Kentucky voters routinely choose Republicans in national races, yet Democrats have only lost two governor's races since 1950 in the state. But Williams is promising an upset, defying poll projections.

Williams complains the state lost thousands of jobs under Beshear and he has sought to make President Barack Obama a central figure of the campaign.

Beshear has endorsed Obama for re-election and insists Kentucky is emerging stronger than most states from a gloomy economy.

Voters will also choose an agriculture commissioner, attorney general, auditor, secretary of state and treasurer.  You can track the results of those elections on

If you are heading to the polls, you will need one of the following forms of identification: drivers license, military ID, credit card, employment ID, or your Social Security card.

The polls close at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.