County voter turnout tops 54 percent in primary

Voter turnout was higher than normal for Tuesday’s primary election in Hamilton County, with 54 percent of registered voters casting their ballots.
The vast majority of votes came in by mail ahead of election day, which in light of current social distancing protocol was just what Hamilton County Clerk Jill DeMers was hoping to see.
“We were just overwhelmed and very appreciative of the mail-in votes,” DeMers said. “Voting at the Farr Building also went very smooth. We had about 250 people who went to the Farr Building, divided by the five precincts, and that’s exactly what we wanted.”
A total of 3,316 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s primary election, which featured very few locally contested races. There are a total of 6,129 registered voters in the county, making the total turnout just over 54 percent. That compares to 40 percent who voted in the 2018 primary election and 38 percent in 2016.
Final results were posted late Tuesday night on the county’s website, though they remain unofficial until the canvassing board meets Friday.
As for the high mail-in voter participation, DeMers said she hopes Tuesday’s turnout will be a step toward converting to an all mail-in election.
“I know I’ve been hoping that the rest of the county could go that way for a couple of years now,” she said. “I think this might be the final nudge. Voter turnout was huge. A few things need to line up before that happens, but I’m sure hoping.”

Unofficial primary election results
Here are the unofficial results in the May 12 Hamilton County primary election:
President -- Republican ballot: Donald J. Trump, 2,229; Bill Weld, 151; write-ins, 28.
US Senator -- Republican ballot: Ben Sasse, 1,901; Matt Innis, 566; write-ins, 6.
Congress Dist. 3 -- Republican ballot: Adrian Smith, 1,941; Aaron Kowalski, 189; Justin Moran, 133; William Elfgren, 68; Larry Lee Scott Bolinger, 53; write-ins, 7.
President -- Democratic ballot: Joe Biden, 393; Bernie Sanders, 46; Elizabeth Warren, 30; Tulsi Gabbard, 23; write-ins, 24.
US Senator -- Democratic ballot: Chris Janicek, 123; Angie Phillips, 113; Alisha Shelton, 108; Andy Stock, 51; Larry Martin, 30; Daniel Wik, 20; Dennis Macek, 19; write-ins, 4.
Congress Dist. 3 -- Democratic ballot: Mark Elsorth Jr., 422; write-ins, 5.
President -- Libertarian ballot: Lincoln Chafee, 2; Max Abramson, 1; Jacob Hornberger, 1; Jo Jorgensen, 1; write-ins, 4.
US Senator -- Libertarian ballot: Gene Siadek, 6; write-ins, 3.
Congress Dist. 3 -- Libertarian ballot: Dustin Jobbs, 7; write-ins, 3.
High Plains Community School Board Dist. No. 75 (Hamilton County votes will be added to other county totals to determine which candidates advance): Terry Carlstrom, 96; Erin Meyer, 69; Jason Morris, 48; Kraig Urkoski, 44; Kent Helgoth, 44; Kyle Beck, 26; Kristi Farley, 19; write-ins, 0.
Harvard Public School Board Dist. No. 11 (Hamilton County votes will be added to other county totals to determine which candidates advance): Michael Nieman, 3; Janet Hachtel, 2; Bonnie Roberts, 1; Texas Wagner, 1; Jerrold Hester, 1; Andrew Burbach, 1.
Upper Big Blue Natural Resource District 05: Kendall Siebert, 1,363; Merlin Volkmer, 531; Neal Hoff, 397; write-ins, 10.
Nebraska Public Power District: Sheila Hubbard, 907; Wayne Williams, 810; Robert Cooper, 368; James Mestl, 511; write-ins, 11.

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