Voter turnout less than hoped; two state races may be poised for - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Voter turnout less than hoped; two state races may be poised for recount

Voter turnout less than hoped; two state races may be poised for recount

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Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

LINCOLN - Despite outstanding voter turnout in a number of counties,
statewide turnout fell below 25 percent based on preliminary totals from the
primary election. As noted by Secretary of State John Gale, results are
unofficial until counties canvass their results. County offices are still
counting provisional ballots, which is likely to boost the total voter
turnout, although Gale acknowledged that turnout will not reach his initial
prediction of 28 percent.

"Unfortunately, while counties like Blaine and Arthur experienced turnout of
better than 70 percent, in some counties, turnout was much smaller than
hoped or anticipated."

Five counties (Douglas, Scotts Bluff, Nance, Thurston and Dakota) had voter
turnout in the teens.

"It is disappointing to be sure. When you think about what drives voters to
the polls, it is largely about the issues and the nature of the contested
races that appear on the ballot. That was true in this election. There were
strongly contested races for U.S. Senate, Congress and several state
executive offices and yet, a majority of voters chose not to participate."

Gale said he is nevertheless excited about the potential for doubling the
turnout in the general election. "There will be major partisan state races
to be resolved, in addition to many contested partisan county offices. Also,
Nebraskans will be voting on 17 of 24 contested legislative races that will
be on the ballot."

In terms of voter breakdown by percentages from the primary: 23 percent of
counties had above 50 percent voter turnout, 24 percent of counties had
above 40 percent turnout and 52 percent of counties had better than 30
percent voter turnout.

Totals will adjust upwards with the inclusion of provisional ballots. By
law, counties have until May 22 to complete that process.

The determination as to whether two statewide races will qualify for recount
will also be determined once the impacted counties canvass their results.
For nonpartisan races, the top two vote-getters advance to the general

Megan Hunt was the top vote-getter in the race for Legislative District 8.
However, Mina Davis and Josh Henningsen are currently 34 votes apart for
second and third place, respectively. If the gap decreases to under 31
votes, that race will be eligible for recount.

Additionally, the Metro Community College race in District 2 is very close
between Dennis Womack and Brad Ashby. They are currently five votes apart,
which already falls within the threshold for an automatic recount. Erin
Feichtinger, who received the largest number of votes in that race, will
advance to the general election.

State statute allows for an automatic recount if the margin of votes between
candidates is less than one percent of the total votes received by the top

A determination will be made at the meeting of the Nebraska Board of
Canvassers as to whether a recount will be ordered, based on the official
vote totals.

"For now, we are waiting on the counties to wrap up their tallies, and then
my office will prepare for the state Board of Canvassers meeting on June
11," said Gale. "Any statewide recounts that are ordered will take place on
June 13."
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