During the spring of 2020 election cycle, we’ve all witnessed many changes in the political landscape across the nation, many of which can be seen locally in Southern Boone. The changes can be attributed to a number of factors; COVID-19, reaching a milestone of growth of approximately 5,000+ in Ashland, and an increasing voter demographic that is more focused on candidate qualifications than a well-known “name”.
On June 4th of 2020, Govern Parson signed Senate Bill 631 which allows voters that have an active case of COVID-19 or at a higher risk for complications from the virus to vote absentee without notarization in 2020 only. Voters can also request a mail-in ballot for 2020 elections from the Boone County Clerk’s office. This change in voting procedures may be temporary at this point, but this action has opened the gate for future voting changes that may be implemented on a long-term basis. For the first time, Boone County Clerk’s office also set up an absentee ballot location at the Ashland Optimist Club for local residents to visit.
But the biggest visible changes in politics in Southern Boone were in the Ashland Mayor’s race. For the first time in several past elections, there were two candidates to choose from: Mr. Dorise Slinker and Mr. Richard Sullivan. Previous mayoral elections have not had the level of campaigning, fundraising and organization that has been demonstrated this year. Candidate Slinker focused primarily on a personally run campaign with a budget of less than $1,000.00 while candidate Sullivan formed an election committee, “Sullivan for Ashland Mayor” with a local banker as his Treasurer, and former City of Ashland Treasurer as his Campaign Advisor. Also unique to this year’s election was the level of involvement and endorsements for Sullivan from sitting council members, the business community, and local politicians.
~ See more in today’s Journal ~