Becky Kuntzelman | Johnson Publications
County Clerk/Election Commissioner Debbie Clark retrieves early voting ballots from the drop box at the west side of the courthouse. Early voting is up considerably since the last General Election.
Like many areas, Chase County sees heavy early voting
The coronavirus pandemic and a U.S. presidential race have caused a flood of early voting nationwide — so much that one national election observer is predicting a record turnout and the highest rate of voting in 112 years.
And if that happens, judging from early voting so far, Chase County will have done its part.
Citing figures from the United States Elections Project, which gathers data on early voting, Reuters reported last week that more than 4 million Americans already have voted. That is 50 times the number by this time in 2016.
Wendy Moe of the Chase County Clerk’s Office said early voters so far have cast twice as many ballots as they had by this time in 2018.
The Nebraska Secretary of State began mailing out early voting applications statewide Sept. 11. So far, Moe said, the county has received 451 early ballot requests and has gotten 171 of those back as of Oct. 8.
“Normally, we wouldn’t have more than a couple hundred early ones, period,” Moe said. And “we’ve still got a ways to go.”
Any ballot sent out must be returned by 7 p.m. Nov. 3, when polls close on election day. Ballots received via an early voting application must be returned to the clerk’s office, either the office itself or the drop box outside the courthouse, or mailed in.
They will not be accepted at polling places on election day.
Oct. 8 was the first day there were no ballots in the drop box, which is checked in the morning and at noon, Moe said. Before that, they were collecting about 10 ballots a day, she said.
Most of the early ballots have come in the mail, although more people are starting to walk them in. They also can be filled in at the courthouse in voting booths just outside the clerk’s office.
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