Gale Issues Call to Vote Fearing Low Turnout in Primary Election

By  | 

Secretary of State John Gale issued a call for action for Nebraskans to vote in good numbers in the May 15 primary election.

“Sadly, the expectations are for a low turnout for the primary election,” he said. “However, we are hoping that Nebraskans perform their civic duty and produce a solid turnout.”

Gale is not issuing a specific projection for statewide turnout for the election. He said he feels that a low turnout projection might become a self-fulfilling prophecy and discourage citizens from voting.

“This primary election should be an exciting election because of numerous contested races,” he said.

He noted that all Republican congressional races and all but one of the Democratic congressional races are contested. For the Legislature, 10 of the 26 districts have contested races with more than two candidates (only two candidates will advance). University of Nebraska Regent Districts 3, 5 and 8 have contested races where candidates will be eliminated.

Gale said the trend of low turnout in statewide primary elections is causing increasing concern about election officials. In four of the last five primary elections, voter turnout has been less than 25 percent of registered voters.

“The primary election determines who gets on the general election ballot and who ultimately gets elected,” Gale said. “Nebraska voters should care significantly about these primary election races.”

Statewide voter registration for the primary election totals 1,136,402. Registration breakdown by political affiliation is: Republican Party, 547,393; Democratic Party, 368,144; nonpartisan, 218,802; and other parties, 2,063.

Polls are open for the May 15 primary election from 8 a.m. CDT (7 a.m. MDT) to 8 p.m. CDT (7 p.m. MDT).