Big turnout for primary predicted in Nebraska’s two largest counties

'We may very well have a record turnout for a gubernatorial primary election'
Election 2022 Ohio Primary Explainer
Posted at 12:48 PM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 13:48:29-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) — Voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election in Douglas and Lancaster Counties is predicted to be 35% and 37%, respectively.

Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse predicted Friday that voter turnout in the state’s most populous county would be higher than in most gubernatorial primaries in the last 16 years.

“This election cycle has piqued the interest of voters in Douglas County,” Kruse said. “We may very well have a record turnout for a gubernatorial primary election.”

Lancaster County Election Commissioner Dave Shively said Friday that turnout in gubernatorial primaries in 2020 (42%) and 2010 (40%) were higher than his 37% prediction for Tuesday. He noted that 2010 was the year Capitol City voters had to decide whether to approve a financing plan for Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Voter turnout predictions for the state as a whole had not been made by midmorning Friday.

The 2022 primary election features a hotly contested race for the Republican nomination for governor. University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen of Columbus, Falls City businessman Charles Herbster and State Sen. Brett Lindstrom of Omaha have led the pack and have filled the airways with advertisements.

In Douglas County, Kruse said he has received 84,948 requests for early voting ballots, a record number.

His prediction of 35% turnout in the county compares with turnouts in past gubernatorial primaries of 27.6% in 2006, 12.0% in 2010, 20.6% in 2014, and 20.9% in 2018.

In 2006, former Nebraska football coach and U.S. Rep. Tom Osborne challenged Gov. Dave Heineman in the GOP governor’s primary, with Heineman pulling out the victory.

A turnout of 35% of voters in Douglas County would result in 125,218 votes cast. A turnout of 37% in Lancaster County would represent about 74,000 votes.

In Douglas County, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 135,319 to 127,102, as of May 2. The county has 5,857 Libertarians, 803 Legal Marijuana NOW party members and 88,684 nonpartisans, Kruse said.

He discouraged voters at this time from returning early ballots via the U.S. Postal Service because of extended processing times.

All early voting ballots must be received by the Douglas County Election Commission, either at its office or at one of its drop box locations, by 8 p.m. Tuesday, which is Election Day.

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nebraska Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Cate Folsom for questions: Follow Nebraska Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.

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