Lincoln city primary goes well; election observers needed for May 7

Voter turnout was a higher-than-expected 31 percent, which put the city's primary on par with 2001, the largest city primary in recent history.

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The April 9 municipal primary election in Lincoln ran relatively smoothly, with short wait times at polling places and few problems reported. Calls to Civic Nebraska’s Election Protection Hotline, which our Voting Rights Initiatives team monitors every Election Day, were mostly from voters looking to locate their proper polling place.

Voter turnout was a higher-than-expected 31 percent, which put the city’s primary on par with 2001, the largest city primary in recent history. That’s when almost 30 percent of voters cast ballots. And Tuesday’s totals are higher still than the city’s most recent mayoral primary in 2015, which saw 24 percent of registered voters cast ballots. You can see the results of Lincoln’s April 9 primary here.  

With fields for mayor, city council, school board, and airport authority now narrowed, the city’s focus turns to the May 7 general election, in which voters will choose the next mayor, four City Council members, and three school board seats.

For this general election in the state’s second-largest city, Civic Nebraska will be deploying trained nonpartisan election observers to precinct sites throughout Lincoln. To learn more about becoming an election observer, email Voting Rights Field Director Brad Christian-Sallis at brad.christian.sallis@civicnebraska.org.

Observers act in a passive role, monitoring elections and the polling places, reporting back to Civic Nebraska their observations, particularly instances of concern. As part of their observations, election observers gather data on how elections are administered and record any irregularities or differing treatment of voters. Election observation protects the integrity of and helps maintain public confidence in our state’s electoral process. Observation also helps improve the quality of Nebraska elections – Civic Nebraska shares all information it gathers with election officials to identify areas of success, as well as opportunities for improvement.

In addition, any Nebraska voter who may have questions or concerns related to casting their ballot May 7 can call the Civic Nebraska Election Day Hotline at 402-904-5191 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT on Election Day.

For Lincolnites: Getting registered and voting early

— If you live in Lincoln and are eligible to vote but have not yet registered for the May 7 general election, visit the Secretary of State’s Office and register. You must do so (online by April 19 or in person at 601 N. 46th St. by April 26) to be able to vote May 7.

— Want to vote early? Go here to apply for an early ballot. You must return it to the Election Commission by mail, email, FAX, or by hand. Early voting application deadlines are Friday, April 26 (by mail/FAX) and Monday, May 6 (in person). Ballots will be mailed to voters beginning April 22.

— Questions? Call, email, or visit the Lancaster County Election Commission, 601 N. 46th St., 402-441-7311 or earlyvote@lancaster.ne.gov.

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