Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daria Anderson-Faden
The Observer 

Early Voting Encouraged During Virus Outbreak


April 9, 2020

Daria Anderson-Faden

While plans proceed for early voting during the virus outbreak, playgrounds at Kimball City Park, Gotte Park and the school have been closed in another safety measure.

Voting officials throughout the state – Kimball County included – are encouraging voters to vote by mail during the coronavirus outbreak by completing an early voter form to have a ballot sent to you.

The primary election is May 12 and it will continue as scheduled, according to the Nebraska Secretary of State's Office.

Already plans are being made to make sure that if you do decide to go to the polls instead of participating in early voting, that voters practice social distancing – washing your hands before and after voting and bringing your own pen.

Kimball County has sent out Early Voting Ballot Request forms to all registered voters in Kimball County. This form must be returned to the clerk's office, and hence a ballot will be mailed out to you after April 6, although you can also email the information to the clerk's office. 

According to Kimball County Clerk's letter the ballot must be returned by Tuesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. Early voting ballots cannot be mailed out after May 1.

Colorado, Utah and Washington are a few of the states that vote exclusively by mail. But according to the Nebraska state statute, counties in Nebraska with less than 10,000 population in the last census can apply to make their county voting procedure exclusively all mail.

Some area counties have done just that. Kathleen Brandt, Morrill County clerk, said they went to exclusively mail in ballots for the 2018 election and "I love it."

She said it was a lot of work to complete all the forms and input to receive this special classification from the Nebraska secretary of state, but it has worked great in Morrill County.

Other counties in the Panhandle that have gone to mail ballots are Garden and Dawes. Box Butte County would love to, according to Brandt, but their population exceeds the requirements. She anticipates other counties looking for this opportunity.

During the coronavirus outbreak, some counties wish they had switched to all-mail voting and some are making adjustments.

Brandt said some people are skeptical about the change at first, but it eliminates travel for many people and certainly cleaned up their voter records. The all-mail ballots improved their voter turnout to 79%. Brandt said she invites the skeptics to participate in the process because although they questioned the secrecy of the ballots, by the time they left they were "quite impressed" with the process.

Candidates Seeking Local Office

Candidates for election in Kimball County include these for the Kimball School Board: Heather Norberg, Carrie M. Tabor, Laura Perry, Lanny Little, Jennifer Griebel, Maggie Laughlin, Albert Hargreaves, Tom O'Brien and Chauncey G. Pederson.

Only one person has filed for Dix Village Board, Kimberly Gotfrey.

The county commission race includes all Republicans: Carl Stander, Justin Perry and Jim Wertz.

Robert Dunkin Jr. filed for Kimball Airport Authority Board, which is a six-year term.

Finally, Kimball City Council had four individuals filing: Kim Baliman, Gabriel J. Ingram, Kathy Porter and Joette E. Wells.

Additional voting information is located on the Kimball County Clerk website.


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