State Officials Say Nebraska Primary Will Not Be Delayed, Encourage Voting by Mail

March 24, 2020, 1:14 p.m. ·


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State officials say they have no plans to delay the upcoming primary election despite concerns about the spread of COVID-19. But some counties are taking extra measures to prepare.

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Nebraskans can already vote by mail in every county across the state – they just have to apply for the ballot ahead of time.

Six counties are sending every registered voter an application for a mail-in ballot: Douglas, Lancaster, Cass, Gage, Buffalo, and Sarpy.

Gage County Clerk and Election Commissioner Dawn Hill says her concerns about COVID-19’s impact on voting were growing in early March.

"I had a little trouble sleeping one night and I thought maybe this is the answer — I'm going to send out applications for every active voter in my system to give everyone the possibility or the option to be able to vote," Hill said. "I knew it was kind of a large task. But I felt that that was the right thing to do."

Hill says as long as in-person voting in May is still on the calendar, she has other concerns — like some of her usual poll worker volunteers who are worried about possible exposure.

And one of the polling sites was supposed to be in an assisted living facility, so Hill is looking for a replacement site.

"It's been very challenging. I did call in some extra help to get those notices out," Hill said. "We just don't want people sick. We want people to be able to vote. We hope for the best best case scenario."

Five other states have primary elections in the first three weeks of May:

  • Kansas: May 2
  • Indiana: May 5 (moved to June 2)
  • West Virginia: May 12
  • Kentucky: May 19 (moved to June 23)
  • Oregon: May 19

The last day to request a mail-in ballot in Nebraska is May 1.

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