WAHOO – The May 12 Primary Election results remain unofficial, as election workers in Saunders County continue finalizing the vote count.
Election Commissioner Patti Lindgren said the large number of mail-in ballots made extra work for her staff, and the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help, either. A shortage of employees in the courthouse has slowed down the process, she added. Official results had not been announced prior to press deadline.
There was also a shortage of workers at the voting sites. Despite that, the ballots were back to the courthouse within an hour after the polls closed, Lindgren said.
About half of the people working at the polling places were new, which meant training took longer. And Lindgren was limited by social distancing guidelines to the number of people she could train at one time, which also extended the amount of time it took to prepare them for the election.
Preparing the polling places also took longer, Lindgren said.
“Polls had to be set up differently,” she said.
Lindgren hit every polling place on election day to make sure everything was going well. There were a few minor issues, but nothing that caused any problems.
The state issued cleaning supplies for each polling place, and workers had to sanitize the area after each voter. Lindgren said there were fewer people at the polls, as many people took advantage of mail-in ballots.
In the races for Nebraska Legislature, incumbent Bruce Bostleman of Brainard holds a lead over challenger Helen Raikes of Ashland. With 22 of 33 precincts reporting across the district, Bostleman had 5,674 votes while Raikes garnered 3,408. In Saunders County, 3,181 votes were cast for Bostleman while 2,403 voters marked the oval for Raikes. Both candidates will advance to the November General Election.
On the Saunders County Board of Supervisors, three districts are up for election. In District 2, four Republicans were on the ballot for the nomination to the General Election. Incumbent Doris Karloff of Yutan was in the lead with 235 votes after 100 percent of the precincts had reported. Challenger John Zaugg of Yutan came in second place with 189 votes, followed by JC Long with 97 votes and Chris Kems of Yutan with 50 votes. There were two write-in votes. Karloff will advance to the General Election. There were no candidates in the Democratic or any other parties.
Incumbent Scott Sukstorf of Cedar Bluffs advanced to the General Election in District 4. He received 414 votes compared to 247 for his challenger, Tom Slobodnik of rural Yutan. There were no other candidates in the Democratic or other parties.
There were no incumbents on the ballot in District 6, as current supervisor Ed Rastovski opted not to run for reelection. As a result, there will be a new face on the county board after the November election. The Republican candidate in the lead at this time is Tom Hrdlicka of Wahoo with 199 votes. He has a slim lead over Deborah Wehling-Wilcox of Wahoo with 193 votes. In third place is Ken Stuchlik of Wahoo with 134 votes. The winner of the Republican nomination will face Democrat Kyle Morgan in the November General Election.
Voters in Mead said yes to keno by a nearly five-to-one margin. A total of 97 voters said yes to a lottery, which translates into allowing keno in a new bar that is opening later this summer in the village. Eighteen voters cast a vote against the measure.
State officials said the Primary Election broke was historic, with more than 471,000 votes cast to break a 48-year-old record for ballots cast in a primary.
“What is even more remarkable is that Nebraska voters broke the record in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the serious health threat posed by COVID-19,” said Secretary of State Bob Evnen.
All results are unofficial at this time. Official results will be released by the county election commissioners at a later date.