Lancaster Co. election office sends over 40,000 mail-in ballots before Election Day

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 10:28 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Over 40,000 mail-in ballots were sent to registered Lancaster County voters ahead of Tuesday’s city primary election. This number was higher than a similar 2017 city primary of 38,000, according to the election commissioner.

This means polling places stayed pretty empty Tuesday but it was quite different at the election commission office.

Lincoln voter Brittany Ullman said, “I moved recently so it’s just easier to have it be mailed in.”

Ullman was one of the thousands of early voters this election. She said it’s better for her so she can make the best decision come election day.

“I like to see what’s on the ballot, do my research and write it in and not be standing in line,” Ullman said.

With more people voting early or by mail that means fewer people are going to the polls. The election commissioner says it’ll likely be a growing trend.

“Once someone starts voting early, they usually want to continue voting early. it’s out there. people have the right to do it,” election commissioner Dave Shively said.

For some voters, mail-in voting is easier and more accessible. Shively said higher numbers of mail-in voters have led to an increase in voter turnout.

Shively said, “We’re seeing more people that are probably 100% voters or more regular voters. They don’t miss that many elections so that number isn’t extremely high, but I think we’re seeing more people that vote all of the time.”

For the last three elections, mail-in voting has been higher than in-person voting. One negative is Shively predicts a lower percentage of mailed ballots will actually be returned. He said it’ll cost taxpayers more money.

According to election numbers, 74% of mail-in ballots were returned. In the November election, Shively said the mail-in return rate was at 95%.

The city general election will be on May 4.

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