LINCOLN – Nearly 23,000 Nebraskans who have already applied for their early voting ballots will begin receiving them when by mail voting starts statewide on April 9. Five days later, in-person voting will be available at county election offices, says Secretary of State John Gale. Currently, 1,195,515 Nebraskans are registered to vote.

“I am encouraged by the number of people who are registered ahead of the May 15 primary,” said Gale. “In fact, there are 30,000 more people registered now, than were registered in the 2016 presidential primary.”

Gale noted that historically, gubernatorial elections do not garner the largest turnouts. However, “there are a number of races on the state and local levels that are highly contested and deserve serious attention.”

Some of those races include U.S. Senate, three congressional seats, 24 legislative districts and all five executive state offices. “In addition, elections to fill offices at the local level are also being decided -- positions that affect us as citizens most directly.”

Locally, that includes races for the District 24 legislative seat, county commissioners, sheriff and Henderson City Council.

Registered voters wishing to vote early by mail must complete the required application. Those forms are available on the Secretary of State’s website in English and Spanish (http://www.sos.ne.gov/elec/ele_forms.html). Once completed, they should be mailed to the appropriate county election office for processing – here, it would be the York County Clerk’s office.

“This is an exciting and no doubt, busy time for our 93 election officials,” Gale noted. “In addition to mailing out and receiving ballots on a daily basis, they will also be handling walk-in voters as well.”

Gale reminds voters that early ballots are segregated and kept secure up until Election Day. Counties can begin counting those ballots up to 24 hours in advance. No results are released until the close of polls on May 15.

Meanwhile, voters can track the status of their mail-in ballot, also through the Secretary of State’s website (https://www.votercheck.necvr.ne.gov/VoterView/). Through that same portal, users can check their voter registration information and the location of their polling place.

Finally Gale notes, “Your ballot is waiting for you. Go cast it.”

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