Midway through in-person voting on Nov. 8, Civic Nebraska reports a generally smooth Election Day in the Cornhusker State. Calls to Civic Nebraska’s Election Protection Line (402-890-5291) and notes from its nonpartisan election observers have been steady, with most reports querying about polling locations, the placement of campaign signs too close to poll entrances, and long voter queues after the polls opened at 8 am.
There have been no reports of voter intimidation or active electioneering at the state’s polling places or early mail-in dropboxes in each of Nebraska’s 93 counties.
“So far, so good,” said Heather Engdahl, Civic Nebraska’s director of voting rights. “Polls are open for business, lines are moving briskly, and we expect Nebraskans to make their voices heard in big numbers today.”
The most notable issue occurred shortly after polls opened in Douglas County. The first 25 voters in a Benson-area polling location were only given the first page of the local ballot, which is two pages long. The error was caught by 8:35 am, and the Douglas County Election Commission moved to quickly contact those voters so they can complete their ballots.
Long lines were reported in at least one south Omaha precinct shortly after opening, but the log jam abated by 9 am, a poll observer reported.
There also were several questions about the placement of campaign signs outside of polling places in Lincoln. State law prohibits electioneering within 200 feet of a polling entrance. There were several reports of gubernatorial signs being within a 200-foot radius at a central Lincoln polling spot.
County election commissions and the secretary of state’s Election Division (888-727-0007 or 402-471-2555) are the responsible authorities to rectify accessibility or electioneering concerns.
This is the 17th election – statewide and municipal – that Civic Nebraska has monitored since 2012. Nebraska voters already surpassed the early-voting record for a midterm election on Monday with 209,120 early votes. If officials’ turnout projections are accurate, that would mean nearly 40 percent of the state’s electorate will have banked their votes early.
Engdahl reminded voters who have requested an early mail-in ballot that they must submit it in an official county dropbox by 8 pm CST today. Some voters who requested an early mail-in ballot but have decided they wish to vote in person at their polling place today will be asked to complete a provisional ballot.
“This ballot is not counted immediately and requires extra steps for our hard-working election officials to get it validated,” Engdahl said. “We strongly recommend that if you have an early mail-in ballot, get it to a dropbox by 8 o’clock tonight.”