Many counties throughout Nebraska are seeing a very high number of early voting requests. Some have already surpassed the number requested in the 2008 election, and there is about two weeks to go still.
Hall County is having a hard time keeping up with their early voting requests. "I've got three computers going, and could literally use three more to process all the requests we're receiving. We've been getting about 500 a day since it started," said Hall County Election Commissioner Dale Baker.
The Lincoln County Election Commissioner said her office has sent out 2,000 ballots since early voting started on October 1. The first week was the busiest her office has ever had.
Numbers in Nebraska's three largest counties are also running very high this year. Lancaster County is nearing the 20,000 mark. "Four years ago we had a total of a little over 30,000 early vote ballots," said Lancaster County Election Commissioner Dave Shively. "I'm sure we will well exceed that number this year with just about two weeks left to go."
Douglas County has already exceeded the early voting numbers from 2008. More than 54,774 requests have been submitted for ballots and of those, more than 20,000 have been returned. County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps said this already exceeds early voting requests and response during the 2008 general election and he believes it will only grow in the weeks to come.
"We expect early voting to account for a fairly large percentage of the vote for this election. In 2008, approximately 27% of all Douglas County voters voted early. This year, we expect that number to be somewhere between 35% and 40% of the total vote," said Phipps.
In reaction to the enormous response, Secretary of State John Gale said, "A surge in early voting signals a probable high turnout for our November 6 election. While convenience is a factor, early voting shows people have been paying attention and are ready to vote."
He reminded those who wish to cast their ballots early, there are deadlines approaching:
"Don't waste your ballot. Early voting in person or by mail should be done well ahead of deadlines to make sure your ballot gets cast and counted," advised Gale.
"Early voting mail-in ballots have been shown to have as high as a 4 percent rejection rate when envelopes aren't signed, or signed by someone else, or sent in a wrong envelope, or returned due to no postage. So, follow the simple rules, get it done right, and make your ballot count."
Requests for early voting ballots can be found on the Secretary of State's website. Look under 'Elections' for 'Voter Forms'.