Nebraska election officials not worried about losing mail-in votes

Election officials discuss mail-in voting for general election.
Election officials discuss mail-in voting for general election.(Jared Austin)
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 8:39 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska election officials said there shouldn’t be an issue with mail-in voting this general election because people have the opportunity to turn ballots in early. The earliest a voter in Lancaster County can get a ballot is Sept. 29; 35 days before the election. County election commissioner Dave Shively said after having 86% of voters do so by mail last May, he’s expecting similar numbers for this November.

“It’s certainly going to be a large number and likely a record number for early vote requests,” Shively said. High numbers of mail-in voters are leaving some people concerned as Nebraska was one of 41 states to receive a letter from the United States Postal Service about potential issues with mail-in ballots. An official with USPS sent a statement to 10/11 NOW saying:

“We have delivery standards that have been in place for many years. These standards have not changed, and despite any assertions to the contrary, we are not slowing down Election Mail or any other mail.

The Postal Service is committed to delivering election mail in a timely manner. We employ a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all Election Mail, including ballots. This includes close coordination and partnerships with election officials at the local and state levels. Despite assertions to the contrary, we have plenty of capacity in our network to handle the mail now, during Elections, the holiday season and beyond.

The Postal Service’s financial condition is not going to impact our ability to process and deliver election and political mail. The Postal Service has ample capacity to adjust our nationwide processing and delivery network to meet projected election and political mail volume, including any additional volume that may result as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our network is designed to handle increases in volume and deliver that mail in a timely manner. "

Shively said getting all mail-in votes from USPS has never been an issue in year’s past.

“I don’t see that changing with the postal service,” Shively said. “I think they’re going to work their hardest to get absentee ballots back.”

Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen said his office is currently in discussions with the postal service to ensure all mail-in votes are counted for the general election.

“We have a good working relationship with the postal service that covers Nebraska,” Evnen said. “We’re in ongoing discussions with them and were attending to that problem and addressing that.” But, for people concerned about the possibility of a ballot not counting on Election Day, election officials have different ways people can turn them in. One of them includes bringing your ballot to the drop box in front of every county election commission office in Nebraska.

“These boxes are available to people 24/7,” Evnen said. “So, if you want to return your county ballot early, just take it to their office.”

Election officials said getting your ballot in early is the best way to avoid any confusion or mishaps on Election Day.

The Nebraska Secretary of State said he plans to make a formal announcement of mail-in ballot requests being sent statewide soon. However, he did say that it’s ‘a real fairness question’ as Lancaster, Sarpy and Douglas counties are already giving all registered voters requests.

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