Voter turnout lower than expected in primary election

May 15, 2024, 12:30 p.m. ·

Bob Evnen
Secretary of State Bob Evnen. (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

More than 330,000 Nebraskans cast votes in the primary election, resulting in an overall voter turnout of just over 27%.

Going into the election, Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen predicted voter turnout would be 35%.

The election was the first in Nebraska where identification was required to vote. Evnen said voter ID was not a factor in the lower turnout.

“We have more than 330,000 ballots cast in the primary election and there were less than 100 that had provisional status as a result of ID issues,” he said. “That’s about 600th of 1%.”

“Provisional status” means a voter showed up without an ID or a non-valid ID but was allowed to vote by law, anyway. Law states the voter must return to their local election office within a week with a valid ID for the ballot to count. Evnen pointed out 27% turnout in Tuesday’s primary was nearly in line with the 2016 primary when the turnout was 26%.

A total of 333,299 votes were cast Tuesday in Nebraska, which has 1.2 million registered voters.

Lancaster County saw a 29% turnout, while 22% of voters turned out in Sarpy County and 24% in Douglas County.

The highest voter turnout in the state was in Garden County, which saw a 62% voter turnout.

The lowest voter turnout was in Dakota County, where less than 12% of voters made their way to the polls.

Evnen issued a statement saying poll workers and county election offices did a remarkable job handling Nebraska’s first statewide election requiring voter ID.

“Nebraskans should be proud of their county election officials who stepped up to the plate to successfully implement voter ID,” he said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our friends and neighbors who served at polling places and election offices to ensure ballots were cast securely and independently.”