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Nebraska Secretary of state evaluating early voting laws after record mail-in turnout

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 18:16:29-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Over 436,000 Nebraskans voted by mail in 2020, but around 25,000 never returned their ballot.

Secretary of State Bob Evnen questioned why they never got them back.

“Did they receive them? If they received them, what happened to them? Did they just decide not to cast them? Did they put them in a pile of mail and did it become too late or did something else happen?” says Evnen.

Percentage wise, more people returned their ballots for the general election than they did in the primary election May. But Evnen is pointing to the raw number 25,000 as reason to possibly change the law.

“When we mail ballots out to people, as soon as put them in the mail, we lose control of them. And if we’re going to have an increase percentage of voters who are choosing to vote early, them we ought to take a concerted look at how those ballots are cast in a secure way,” says Evnen.

Evnen says he has no evidence one way or another of anything sinister happening with those ballots.

And he says his concerns are simply a matter of keeping the integrity of the electoral system.

“I don’t think that that is irresponsible or politicizing anything. I think that is actually responsibly carrying out my duties as the chief election officer of the state,” says Evnen.

Evnen did say there were no reports of fraud or voter intimidation at polling locations Tuesday.

Overall the state had a 74% voter turnout, easily surpassing turnout of 2016, which was 71%.

“Nebraskans can be proud of their participation in the elections of 2020,” says Evnen.

Nebraska counted their ballots much faster than other states still counting Wednesday, such as Pennsylvania.

“Their laws haven’t accommodated it as ours have. And they’re trying to gear up for it this year.”

Evnen wouldn’t say what exactly he wants to do to change early voting laws.

“I’m looking at different options, different ideas. I don’t have anything I want to bring forward at this point,” says Evnen.

To pass the law, a state senator would have to introduce it and have it passed in the legislature.