BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Warren County community began lining up at 8 a.m. Tuesday for the first day of early voting. 

Due to the coronavirus, the state of Kentucky opened up early voting for everyone from October 13 until November 2. The county made sure to enforce the use of masks and social distancing, and hand sanitizing stations were placed outside of the entrance and exit ways. People from all different backgrounds came to the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center in Bowling Green, wanting to cast their ballot. 

With protests taking place since the beginning of the summer, many couldn’t wait to make their voices heard on the ballot. 

“I was just excited about it and I just want my voice heard,” said long-time voter Gayle Smith. 

According to the Pew Research Center, black voter turnout dropped in the 2016 presidential election, falling from the record high of 66.6 percent in 2012 to 59.6 percent in 2016. Throughout the year many Black Americans have continued to focus on issues such as police brutality and social change. Lakeisha Cofer said as she has watched protests and rallies unfold, the best thing she can do is get out and vote. 

“It is very important because there’s a lot of situations and issues that need to be handled and we as the United States including the Black Americans need to hear our voice. Protesting and everything is good, but this is the way to get across,” said Cofer. 

Protests continue in Louisville, in response to the death of Breonna Taylor. Patricia Tillmon has lived in Bowling Green for years and said that the civil unrest that she has witnessed this past summer has been the driving force to cast her ballot. 

“Look at what’s happening to all the Black people though, all the Black young men, so us Blacks should stand together and do what’s right,” said Tillmon. 

Early voting is available until November 2, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The county will also offer early voting on Saturday, October 17, 24, and 31 from 8 a.m. until noon.