Voter registration has surged in Nebraska with many Nebraska voters casting early ballots, at least in some parts of the state.
At the end of last year, Nebraska had 1 million, 140,000 registered voters.
“So, here we are not a year later and we have some 55,000 more registered voters in about a 10-month period and we have 30,000 more than we had in the primary,” Secretary of State John Gale tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Gale says voter registration is approaching 1-Million, 200,000, far exceeding his expectations. The latest official count of voter registration in Nebraska is 1,198,546.
Online registration, both through the Nebraska Secretary of State’s website and through the Department of Motor Vehicles, has accelerated voter registration. Efforts by Facebook to prompt its users to register has also helped increase the voter registration rolls.
Gale hopes an increase in voter registration translates into an increase in voter participation.
Early voting numbers might indicate that will be the case this year in Nebraska. If trends continue, as much as 30% of the vote cast this year will be cast early in Nebraska.
Not everyone is taking advantage of early voting, though.
Gale says many eastern Nebraska counties report brisk early voting, with many western Nebraska voters satisfied to wait till Election Day.
“There’s a big dividing line right through Grand Island, between (the) eastern part of Nebraska and central and western; between how vigorous that early voting is,” according to Gale.
Nebraskans can vote early either by mail or at their county courthouse. Nearly 42,000 ballots have been cast already. In Sarpy County, more than 21,000 voters have requested an early ballot. Lancaster County has mailed 22,000 ballots to residents wishing to vote early. Douglas County also reports strong interest in early voting.
In contrast, Hitchcock County, located on the border with Kansas in western Nebraska, tells the Secretary of State’s office only three people have shown up at her office to vote.
Voter registration by mail and online ends at the close of business today. You can register in person by October 28th at 6pm. Registered voters also can request an early ballot be mailed to them by the close of business on the 28th. You can vote early through the 7th, the day before Election Day.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]