State primary closes; few major concerns

Navigating the state's new ID mandate and electioneering were the most frequent queries from Nebraska voters and our volunteer nonpartisan election observers.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post stated that a handful of precincts in Lancaster and Douglas counties experienced a few instances of how to reconcile voters who presented IDs with outdated addresses. The counties were Cass and Douglas. We regret the error.
Thanks to the state’s election officials, poll workers, and informed voters, Nebraska’s first statewide election under a new ID mandate saw few major issues on Tuesday.
Calls were steady Tuesday to Civic Nebraska’s Election Protection Line (402-890-5291) and reports from its roughly four dozen volunteer nonpartisan election observers at precincts around the state. A plurality of contacts focused on Nebraska’s new voter identification requirements, as well as concerns about potential electioneering at or near polling places. Civic Nebraska fielded just under 50 queries to its Election Protection Line on Tuesday.
“A common theme today was about specific voter ID protocol, which was not a surprise,” said Heather Engdahl, Civic Nebraska’s director of voting rights. “On Tuesday, election officials’ efforts, along with the efforts of local organizations to educate voters and spread awareness, paid off.”
Throughout the spring, the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office hosted a marketing campaign called Let’s Bring It that reminded voters of the new ID requirements. In addition, Civic Nebraska and partners canvassed various Nebraska neighborhoods, shared voter resources, and focused informational efforts on segments of the electorate who were eligible to vote but also were likely not to possess an appropriate ID.
Earlier in the day, there were concerns at a few precincts in Cass and Douglas counties regarding how to reconcile voters who presented IDs with outdated addresses. The new ID mandate allows voters to present outdated and/or expired ID cards, as long as they carry the voter’s photo and name. Each situation was quickly resolved, allowing those voters to cast their ballots without delay.
At midday, officials in Douglas and Cass counties clarified the protocols in such situations with all precincts. The rapid response likely limited further confusion regarding how to proceed in such situations, Engdahl said.
Throughout the day, Civic Nebraska received regular queries about the placement of campaign signs at or outside polling places, voters wearing campaign paraphernalia, and polling place sidewalks being chalked with political, if not partisan, messaging. State law prohibits electioneering within 200 feet of a polling entrance. County election commissions and, if necessary, the Secretary of State’s Election Division were made aware of the concerns.
Voters who forgot their ID could vote today via provisional ballot. For that ballot to count, those voters must present an accepted form of identification at their county election commissioner’s office by Tuesday, May 21. If a voter was unable to acquire an accepted ID for voting purposes, then they would be able to complete a Reasonable Impediment Certification form and vote provisionally. All voters may work with their county election office directly to ensure they can cast a ballot that counts.
Other voter queries and election observer reports focused on registered Nonpartisans’ ballot options in the primary. In Nebraska’s primaries, registered Nonpartisans can request a Nonpartisan version of partisan ballots; however, it is up to each state party as to what races and candidates Nonpartisans can weigh in on.
This is the 19th election Civic Nebraska has monitored since 2012.

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