It’s our considered opinion that election officials and poll workers around our state didn’t get enough credit for what they accomplished in 2020. Think back to that extraordinary time and consider just what they were facing, from Scottsbluff to Falls City: A deadly pandemic, a massive surge in first-time early mail-in voters, a chief national executive claiming electoral malfeasance before, during, and after Election Day, and unprecedented levels of participation. Any of these would’ve been extraordinary on their own. Together, they made 2020 an election like no other.
In Nebraska, we came out in record numbers, and our system came through with flying colors. Between early mail-in, early in-person, and in-person Election Day voting, an all-time high of 966,920 ballots were cast (76.3 percent of eligible Nebraska voters). Most importantly, post-election canvasses showed, and showed again, how meticulously and admirably our state’s voting systems operated.
The thanks that election workers got? Before long, their work was being attacked with specious claims of errors and inaccuracies, and even implications of fraud.
Once released, that last one is tough to put back in the bottle. Election fraud makes for enticing and clickable headlines, as the Brennan Center for Justice puts it: “It has the feel of a bank heist caper: roundly condemned but technically fascinating, and sufficiently lurid to grab and hold headlines. Perhaps because these stories are dramatic, voter fraud makes a popular scapegoat,” the national organization has written. “In the aftermath of a close election, losing candidates are often quick to blame voter fraud for the results. Legislators cite voter fraud as justification for various new restrictions on the exercise of the franchise. And pundits trot out the same few anecdotes time and again as proof that a wave of fraud is imminent.”
Most often, though, allegations of fraud are greatly exaggerated. This has been especially true in Nebraska, where our elections have a well-earned reputation of security, integrity, and accuracy. As close watchers of Nebraska’s electoral processes, we support improving our elections, but we are also confident that in 2022 – starting with the primaries in May – this standard of excellence will continue.
In that spirit, today we’re launching Safe, Secure, Certified, a collection of resources that will serve as a reminder for Nebraskans about some basic truths:
›› Nebraska employs time-tested measures to ensure security in all phases of the election process, from registration all the way to certification. They work.
›› Nebraska elections already are a national model for efficiency, accuracy, and security.
›› Election workers and officials uphold the integrity of the vote by taking the utmost care to protect voter information, registrations, and ballots.
Visit our Safe, Secure, Certified page for more information. We’ll be adding to the site as the election gets closer, including video, infographics, and other useful content that you can share. In the meantime, when you hear someone recklessly raise the specter of voter fraud, send them this way. Or, simply explain to them that facts are facts: When you cast your ballot in Nebraska, your vote is safe. It’s secure. And it’s certified.
(Thank you, election officials.)