Election consistency in an era of hyper-partisanship

Voters reasonably expect specific patterns and processes from election to election. This is especially true in an era when our faith in elections, unfortunately, is under attack.

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This week, The Nebraska Examiner looked into how each county in Congressional District 1 is conducting its piece of the special election to fill Nebraska CD-1’s vacant U.S. House seat. Specifically, it asked each county within CD-1 about their processes for early mail-in ballot request forms in the election, which culminates on June 28.

They found variations from county to county and in a few cases, slight differences between the May 10 primary and the upcoming special election:

The variations – from county to county and also from election to election in at least two counties – are the focus of some speculation regarding the potential shape and nature of the June 28 electorate, as the article discusses.

First, the article is a great reminder that in Nebraska, where there is strong and efficient local control, administering elections is never an easy task. And from our experience, election officials across the state do a great job with the time and resources they have been given. They are true, dedicated professionals and are deserving of our regular thanks.

At the same time, in the minds of voters, consistency is extremely important. Voters reasonably expect specific patterns and processes from election to election. This is especially true in an era when our faith in elections, unfortunately, is under attack. Procedural changes – no matter how small, no matter how necessary, no matter how justified – can and likely will be politicized.

Consistency in processes from election to election also benefits lower-propensity voters. A truly representative democracy requires as many qualified voters as possible to participate. More Nebraskans voting means a stronger and healthier state. County election officials share this view, and we trust that they are communicating any significant changes to their voters for the upcoming special election.

Learn more about the CD-1 special election at Civic Nebraska’s 2022 Election Central hub.

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