Early voting is underway in Nebraska and the state election authority says casting a ballot before Election Day is becoming more and more popular.
Secretary of State John Gale says ballots for the general election have been mailed to Nebraskans and early voting at election offices began this past weekend.
“Early voting’s off and running and we’re hoping for a really strong surge across the state in early voting. It’s become a very, very popular thing,” Gale tells Nebraska Radio Network in an interview.
The May Primary Election drew 28% of the registered voters. Of those casting ballots in May, 18% voted early. Early voting surged in the 2012 presidential election in which 26% of the registered voters in Nebraska cast early ballots.
State law changed in 1998, doing away with the requirement that voters provide an excuse to vote absentee. Since then, the convenience of early voting has become attractive to many Nebraskans. Gale says the political parties also encourage voting early, sending out flyers to registered Republicans and Democrats, encouraging them to not wait to vote.
And though the popularity of early voting is growing, Gale says some still prefer to vote on Election Day.
“In Nebraska, we’re still very traditional. I’m still very traditional. I like to go to my precinct on Election Day,” Gale says. “And a large number of people still do consider it kind of a community, social event. They see friends there. There are precincts that serve pie and coffee after you vote.”
Those wishing to vote in the November election must mail in registrations by October 17th. Registrations must be postmarked by that day, according to the Secretary of State’s office. That also is the last day to register at Department of Motor Vehicle offices, county treasurer offices, state agencies, or departments. The last day in-person voter registrations will be accepted is Friday, October 24th.
Nebraska residents needing to update voter registration can go to the Secretary of State’s website at sos.ne.gov. You can fine voter forms under the “Elections” tab, where you can also request an early ballot.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]