Clerk works out election puzzle
There’s are few things more patriotic than voting, and preparations are underway for Douglas County residents to cast their ballots in the Nov. 2 General Election.
On Thursday, Clerk-Treasurer Kathy Lewis said her goal is to allow voters to cast ballots in the way they are most comfortable with.
“I think there needs to be a choice,” she said. “If people are well enough and feel safe enough they should be able to vote in person.”
Lewis is anticipating an election that will be twice the size of the primary.
Douglas County typically cracks 95 percent turnout for a presidential election, and Lewis estimates as many as 36,000 voters will be casting a ballot.
“That’s 8,000 more voters than we’ve ever had before,” she said. “In 2018, 21,000 of those voters voted in person. In 2018 and 2016, we didn’t have to clean the machines between use.”
With four months left before the Election, Lewis hopes she can mail active voters ballots, so if someone finds they can’t make it to the polls for any reason, they can still cast a ballot.
Douglas County commissioners backed Lewis’ plan to combine mail-in and in-person voting.
“If that’s the way you want to go, we want to support you,” Chairman Barry Penzel said.
Commissioner Dave Nelson urged Lewis to accommodate in-person voting if that was at all possible, something Commissioner Larry Walsh agreed with.
“The citizens of Douglas County really want to vote in person,” Nelson said.
“Voting in person is an American tradition,” Walsh said.
Lewis said she’s not quite ready to contact Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske with her input on November’s election, but when she is she would be seeking commissioners’ support.
Cegavske announced March 24 that the June primary election would be entirely by mail due to the coronavirus outbreak.
She was backed by all 17 county election officials in that decision.
However, there was considerable controversy in Clark County after Democrats sued to have ballots sent to all 1.3 million voters on the rolls.
After that happened news reports showed ballots stacked up on mailboxes and hanging off bulletin boards.
In Douglas, 3,780 ballots mailed to voters on the active rolls were returned as undeliverable, roughly a tenth of the electorate.