Early voting ballots returned in record numbers

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

A record number of Nebraska voters have opted to vote early in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.  Counties are continuing to receive a record number of early ballots, adding daily to the count of votes cast in Nebraska's primary election.

Nebraska has approximately 1.2 million registered voters.  "This year early ballot returns alone have now exceeded total statewide votes cast in the 2016 Presidential primary," Secretary of State Bob Evnen said. "Voter participation in early balloting has reached unprecedented levels," he noted.

In this primary, 441,466 voters requested early ballots. That number does not include the 52,132 ballots mailed to voters in Nebraska's 11 mail-in-only counties.  To date 296,968 ballots from early voters and 24,560 ballots from all-mail-in counties have been returned, for a total of 321,528 ballots already cast in the 2020 Primary Election. This surpasses 313,000 total statewide votes cast in the 2016 Primary Election.

Based on these results, as of today, 67 percent percent of early ballots have been returned, and 47 percent percent of ballots from mail-in-only counties have been returned.

"Nebraskans have taken the opportunity to vote by mail in record numbers, all in compliance with Nebraska's existing elections laws," stated Secretary Evnen. "Voters are choosing for themselves whether to vote early by mail or cast their vote at the polls," Evnen said.

Early voters who have not yet returned their ballots should keep in mind that it may take several days for a ballot to arrive through the mail. "At this point, I encourage early voters who haven't returned their ballots to consider dropping off their ballots at the secure voter drop boxes located at their county offices," Secretary Evnen noted.

To be counted, early ballots must be received by your county election official no later than 8 p.m. CDT/7 p.m. MDT tomorrow (May 12). "Postmarks do not count," Evnen emphasized, "and early ballots cannot be turned in at the polls."

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time (CDT) and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mountain Time (MDT) tomorrow. As soon as the polls close, the first results will be available on the Secretary of State website https://sos.nebraska.gov/  the site will be updated throughout the night.