Election officials promoting mail-in ballots over in-person voting

Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 5:45 PM CDT
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Gov. Ricketts announced polls will remain open for the May 12 primary election, but local officials are promoting people mail in their ballots. Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen said previous primary elections had around 59,000 mail-in ballots. Nebraska is over 120,000 for this primary a month before the election.

The Lancaster County Election Commissioner Dave Shivley said it sent mail-in ballot requests to all registered voters in the county. "We have processed over 47,000 requests," Shivley said, "And we have another eight to 10,000 requests that we still need to get processed."

Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen said everyone in Nebraska received a mail-in request form. People wanting a mail-in ballot will need to mail in the form or deliver it to their county election commission office. "It's very convenient," Evnen said, "It's a very easy way to do it."

While mail-in ballots are preferred, the Lancaster County Election Commission is asking for more volunteers to work at the polls. "Were trying to recruit more people to be poll workers," Shivley said, "Because we have a lot of poll workers that may be in the higher risk category."

Some poll worker volunteers in the high-risk category are the elderly; who likely won't volunteer due to the pandemic. The Lancaster County Election Commission is asking for non-high-risk volunteers.

Although the commission may have lower amounts of volunteers, it won't close any of its polling sites."We might be able to use a fewer number than we do on election day," Shivley said, "But we want to make sure every polling site is staffed sufficiently."

The election commission is also protecting higher risk individuals by moving several polling places away from retirement communities and health care facilities. "Most of them are going to be schools," Shivley said, "Since the schools are not going to be open on election day, that makes them a little more easily available."

A decision will be made in the coming days which schools will be chosen. People voting by mail will need to file the request for it by 6 p.m on May 1, according to the Lancaster County Election Commission.