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Voter registration numbers might not be a useful predictor of election results

Posted at 7:11 AM, Sep 16, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — There isn’t much that brings voters out for mid-term elections.

But the supreme court’s decision in June to overturn Roe V Wade caused a surge in voter registrations in states across the country.

According to publicly available voter information, states like Pennsylvania and Kansas saw big jumps in voter registrations, particularly among women.

But here in Nebraska, that wasn’t the case.

“It's about what we would expect. We currently have around 1,240,000 Nebraskans registered to vote and that’s what we would anticipate at this point,” said Secretary of State Bob Evnen.

Nebraska traditionally has a large majority of its voters registered as Republicans and 2022 is no different, but those numbers might not be telling the whole story.

Between 2021 and 2022, Nebraska Democrats lost around 12,000 voters and Republicans gained around 10,00 in that same time period.

But despite the shift of more than 20,000 voters, Nebraska had its most competitive District 1 race in decades during this summer’s special election.

“We know that we have support from Democrats and Republicans as well as independents. You might have the numbers showing on paper but when we look at the support and where it's coming from we see support from all parties,” said Precious McKesson, Executive Director of the Nebraska Democratic Party.

Nebraska Dems are also polling historically well in Nebraska’s 2nd district race between Don Bacon and Tony Vargas and McKesson says Roe V Wade’s impact on the race is impossible to ignore.

“I think with the Dobbs decision and what is going on in Kansas, we saw Kansas show up. I think that momentum is showing and people are now seeing there is a way we can still be able to have democracy and still be fair and let women have that choice,” said McKesson.

Along with abortion, ballot initiatives could also provide motivation for voters to head to the polls.

The initiatives aren’t presented along party lines though, adding another layer of unpredictability to election outcomes.

“We also have some initiatives on the ballot with Voter ID and minimum wage. I expect those issues on the ballot will bring people to the polls as well," said Evnen.

If you are of voting age it is your civic duty to register to vote and participate in the upcoming elections, regardless of who you vote for. There isn’t a better chance to register, or update your registration, than National Voter Registration day coming up next Tuesday, September 20.

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