By Sydney Yalshevec

Kimball County hoping for larger turnout for general election in November


The primary election came and went in Kimball, and now it’s time to prepare for the general election. Cathy Sibal, County Clerk, and the Clerk’s office will be busy preparing for what they hope will be a better turn out.

Tuesday, May 13, was the primary election, and 622 voters went out to make their stance known. That is 622 out of 3,030 registered voters in Kimball. Such a small percentage of voters out can prove to be disheartening to the county clerk’s office, who spend so much of their time trying to prepare for the election.

“We have to prepare for all the voters, not just the amount that we think will show up. We have to make sure we have enough ballots and voting stations, a big enough space. So when only twenty percent or so show up we have to wonder what we could do to boost that turnout,” Sibal said.

In the past the apathetic voter has expressed their lack of participation in the primary is due to lack of a candidate to support. They might not care for a candidate on the ballot, or their party may not be heavily represented on the ballot. In a primary election, that deals with voting within one’s own party and for non partisan candidates, some ballots can look rather bare.

With this past primary in particular, local offices were absent from the primary all together. This is due to the passing of Legislative Bill 56 that was passed on February 18, 2014, which states, “If the number of candidates properly filed for the nomination of a political party at the primary election for any county officer… does not exceed the number of candidates to be nominated by that party for that office, any such properly filed candidates shall be declared nominated and their names shall not appear on any primary election ballots.”

The aforementioned portion of LB 56, is explaining that if there is one office open and no more than one candidate representing each party they automatically move forward to the general. This is because the primary election is focused on narrowing down the candidates from each party.

“For example, there is one person who filed as a republican for county treasurer. If there had been another republican who filed for that same office, then both names would have appeared on the primary ballot. This being because only one candidate from each party can move forward to the general,” Sibal said.

However, the primary is over and while Kimball had a low turn out it seems that the state of Nebraska itself had a rather low turnout. Republicans had a 40 percent turnout, while Democrats saw an 18 percent turnout. Out of the 1,152,180 people registered for the primary only 316,124 voted. With the race for Governor and Senate being so close a larger turn out could have been a major game changer.

“We’ve got a lot of deadlines to meet with the coming general election and we really want to encourage people to vote, because it does matter. Now is the perfect time in fact for people to check up on their voter registry,” Sibal said.

Even if a person did not vote in the primary, they are still eligible to vote in the general. For those who have never voted, perhaps those just turning eighteen, registry is simple and can be done at the county courthouse. Voting for the first time can be intimidating, however, it is an American right. Those apprehensive about voting for the first time might try going with another person, while ballots will not be shared another person present can provide a confidence boost when a new experience seems daunting. If it is a person’s first time voting, they should know that there are people present who will explain the whole process, because they do to every person who shows up to vote. Parents might consider taking their recently registered voters to the voting location.

“While we prepare for the general we just really want to stress how important it is for the people to get out and vote. It’s your American right and privilege. I would never want to lose that right, and so I show appreciation by exercising it,” Sibal said.

In 1776 Caesar Rodney, Delaware delegate, was the 1 vote that mattered. With his vote he approved independence from England. Several states such as Texas, Idaho, Washington, California, and Oregon were approved to the Union due to one vote. One vote gave women the right to vote in Tennessee. The previously mentioned are just some occasions when one vote was all that mattered.

At this time there have been no write ins for candidacy. Any questions concerning the election or voting process can be directed at the county clerk’s office.

“We encourage questions from the voters and will do our best to answer any and all of their questions,” Sibal said.


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