DAKOTA CITY, Neb. (KCAU) – More than 15 states have postponed primary elections due to covid-19 concerns. Nebraska is not one of them. Instead voters head to the polls Tuesday for a state primary that some are saying will set a new record for participation.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said election officials have had over a month to prepare for in-person voting. The extra steps being taken to protect Nebraskans.
“We’ve held elections through pandemics. We’ve held elections through wars. I think it’s important that anyone that wants to go to the polls is not disenfranchised, and that’s why we’ve been working so hard to keep these polls open,” Ricketts said during a press conference Monday.
Ricketts waived requirements for several Nebraska counties that are still seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. His latest executive order issued today, allows out-of-county volunteers to work polls for Tuesday, including Dakota and Madison counties. Additionally, National Guard members will also be at polling sites to make sure they are properly staffed.
“So this is going to be around eight counties that we want to make sure we have proper staffing for, those will be Dakota, Dawson, Douglas, Hall, Lincoln, Lancaster, Madison and Scotts Bluff counties. So those counties in particular, we will have National Guard who have volunteered to help out if there’s a need to, if there’s not they’ll obviously not be deployed,” Ricketts said.
As Nebraskans decide which candidates will be on the ballot come November, poll workers across the state will be wearing gloves, masks and face shields to ensure the safety of voters and staff.
Dakota County Election Commissioner Joan Spencer said poll workers will be wearing gloves, masks, and face shields. Voters will also be provided a mask and pen upon arrival and will take both with them when they leave. Nebraskans can vote in person Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
While polling sites will be open, Nebraska election officials have encouraged absentee voting. Secretary of State Bob Evnen said in mid-April that 340,000 Nebraskans had already requested mail-in ballots.
Nebraska’s primary will be the first in-person vote since Wisconsin’s much-criticized primary over a month ago. The Wisconsin vote was plagued with a poll worker shortage and long lines at voting locations.
KCAU 9 News will have the primary results on our website as soon as they are available Tuesday night.