2:30 a.m. update
As of 2:09 a.m. and with early voter ballots and 10 precincts counted, Scanlon was ahead of Shellito, 4,257 to 1,477. Fritzinger trailed Frank Albrecht in the District 7 Supervisor race 304 to 486.
The question on a $26 million bond for construction at Wahoo Public School was showing 1,876 against to 1,169 for.
The ballots from Prague were among the first to be counted. In the race for village board of trustees, the unofficial results had Debi Wade, 71, Daniel Havlovic, 20, and Greg Ourada, 67 as the top three vote getters. David Odvody, Kenneth Kuncl and Cathy Snitily were also on the ballot.
In the race for Wahoo City Council Ward 11, Karen Boop was holding a 261-246 lead over Michael Kleffner. Wahoo voters also had a choice for mayor. Jerry Johnson has a 1,348 to 522 lead over Chris Davis.
ORIGINAL POST: 2:00 a.m.
WAHOO – High voter turnout, blank ballots and counting machine problems were among the things that lead to a delay in Saunders County election results.
Saunders County Election Commissioner Patti Lindgren reported at 1:30 a.m. that the ballot machine was running, but it was a slow go. With 11 of the 18 precincts still left to count, she predicted it would be another couple hours before they would all be all completed.
“This has been the worst of what I have experienced,” the long-time election commissioner said.
Having a high voter turnout was good, but Lindgren said it did slow down the counting process.
There were also several counting machine issues. One of the first was a sensor that would not read the ballots properly.
“We cleaned it several times and did everything that we knew how to do,” she said. “We finally had to scan those ballots and run them through again.”
A jam in the machine later in the evening got straightened out, but again caused another delay.
Lindgren said a ballot page that contained natural resource district races also caused some issues. The machine will kick out a ballot that has no ovals marked on it.
The “blank” ballot must then be verified that it was cast with no marks and the counting machine restarted. She said that was happening many times.
From about 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., a handful of people gathered downstairs in the courthouse to wait for results to be posted on the walls. A few others interested in certain races came and went throughout the evening.
Mary Dailey said she was aware that results would be posted online, but she wanted to be a part of the tradition on election night. She recalled that people used to pack the basement, waiting to see results get posted.
“It’s not election night unless you are here,” she said.
She also wanted to pass that tradition along to another generation.
“That’s why I brought along my granddaughter. I wanted her to experience what an election is all about,” Dailey added.
Amber Scanlon agreed. Scanlon, who was a candidate on the county treasurer’s ticket, brought her whole family along to hang out in the basement.
“I brought my kids because I wanted them to see this,” she said.
While results were slow in coming in, she said just having them experience the process was worthwhile.
Kristy Fritzinger, who put her name on the ballot for county supervisor, agreed that it was important to her to stop into the courthouse.
She said it was unfortunate there were so many problems, but was glad to hear that voter turnout was high.
“As long as they are voting, that’s the important thing to me,” she said.
Another candidate hanging out at the courthouse was Danielle Shellito. Shellito, also running for county treasurer, is used to being at the courthouse late on Election Night. In past elections, she has assisted with ballot counting.
This time around, she was just waiting for results.
“I’ve been here late election nights, but it’s never been this late,” she said.
Lindgren said unofficial election results would be reported to the Secretary of State as soon as her staff could and they would also appear on the website link at saunderscounty.ne.gov.
Due to the lateness of the night, she said hand counting of write in ballots and provisional ballots would not take place until sometime during the day on Wednesday.
Saunders County was not alone in delayed results. At 12:30 a.m., the Secretary of State's Office showed nine counties that still had not reported full results.