Voter confidence: Early mail-in ballot requests top 230,000

Assuming those ballots are returned, that is close to surpassing the number of total early votes cast – in person or by mail – in 2016.

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Here’s some good news for democracy: As of Sept. 15, Nebraska voters have requested more than 231,000 early mail-in ballots for the upcoming election, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Assuming those ballots are completed and returned by Election Day, that is close to already surpassing the total number of total early votes cast – in person or by mail – in 2016. And we’ve still got more than a month to go before the Oct. 23 deadline to ask for an early ballot.

We’re not surprised. Nebraska is a “no-excuse” state, which means anyone can request an early mail-in ballot for any reason. And COVID-19 has changed how hundreds of thousands of Nebraskans have voted this year; in May, eight in 10 reached for an early mail-in ballot to make their voices heard during the state’s primary election.

Many of those were lifelong voters who had never voted by mail before, but who found vote-by-mail to be easy, secure, and – in the age of coronavirus – safe. It’s no wonder huge numbers of Nebraskans are turning to early mail-in ballots once more as the general election approaches.

It tells us something else, too: Despite politically motivated rancor, and contrary to well-reported worries about whether the U.S. Postal Service is up to the task of getting ballots delivered on time, Nebraskans have faith in their elections. They have faith in their election processes. And they have faith in their election officials.

It’s well-earned. This spring’s primary went a long way in solidifying that confidence. Months of collaboration, coordination, and planning led to a very smooth process on May 12. Our state’s voters have not forgotten, and that confidence is on full display in these latest early ballot request numbers.

A national trend

Nebraskans aren’t alone in their newfound interest in early voting. A recent national poll shows Americans quickly warming to the process. Six in 10 Americans said they plan to cast their ballots before Election Day, either in-person at an early voting location or after getting to a dropbox or the post office. Four years ago, four in 10 voters cast their ballots ahead of time.

Importantly, plans to vote early by mail – or early via a dropbox – are more than double what they were four years ago, the poll shows.

Those who voted early by mail in their state’s primary this year also had very few problems with the process, according to the poll, which surveyed 1,929 Americans at the end of August. Ninety-five percent responded that they had no trouble getting their ballot, and 98 percent said their ballot was accepted.

This is the kind of confidence and momentum we’re happy to see. More Americans participating in their democracy makes it more modern and robust. And that matters.

Early mail-in voting resources

Still need to request your early mail-in ballot? We can help.

Keep track of the 2020 election calendar so you do not miss any election-year voting deadlines.

Get answers to your frequently asked questions about the 2020 election.

Build a plan to vote. Here’s our quick guide for making and executing your plan.

Fight the infodemic! Share these eight facts about vote-by-mail.

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