A couple of Nebraska organizations plan to observe voting at high-volume polling places in Omaha, Lincoln and Grand Island today.
Executive Director Adam Morfeld with Nebraskans for Civic Reform says more than 70 volunteers and 15 lawyers as well as retired judges will fan out to observe the voting process.
“We’ve targeted polling places, in particular, where there’s a lot of students or in lower income, higher income, we’ve done a variety of different polling locations,” Morfeld tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “So, we’re not in one area in particular, but we are focusing on polling locations that we think will be high volume.”
Nebraskans for Civic Reform is partnering with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights to observe the voting process at select precincts. The two groups are participating in the national Election Protection Program, which boasts more than 100 organizations and 10,000 volunteers.
Morfeld insists the observers will act in a passive role to monitor elections and polling places. The project, according to Morfeld, will make sure every eligible voter receives a ballot, the correct information and is not intimidated from voting.
The groups are concerned about another issue this year. Douglas County election officials consolidated precincts and the closing of certain precincts angered many.
Morfeld says his observers will ensure that voters have access to the polls in Omaha.
“So, we’ll not only be monitoring to make sure there are fair elections, but we’ll also be monitoring to see the impact of the polling place closures,” according to Morfeld.
Deputy Secretary of State Neal Erickson says the office has no problem with anyone observing the process.
“That is something, in the interest of openness and transparency that we certainly have allowed is people to observe the process,” Erickson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Erickson says the key is to observe, not interfere.
“Once again, the basic rule, you’re an observer, you’re not a participant,” Erickson says.
Erickson says observers cannot bother voters or poll workers. If an observer becomes disruptive, he will be asked to leave.