WAYNE – Wayne County clerk, Deb Finn discussed with the Wayne County Board of Commissioners during their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday about a change in how ballots will be sent out to the rural voters. But, registered voters will still be able to vote in person.
Finn, who is also the election commissioner, sent out 2,400 post cards during a survey with rural residents and received great feedback but had 32 negative results pertaining to three concerns of mail service, signatures and that some people just like voting in person. Ballots will be in the county clerk’s office for two weeks prior to being mailed out, signatures will be scanned to match the signature when the voter registered and residents who still want to vote in person can come get their ballot and vote at the courthouse as well.
Ballots will be mailed out to rural residents on April 22 as voters have until 8 p.m. election night May 12 to return the ballots. The ballots can either be dropped off in the clerk’s office, the drop box at the courthouse or returned via mail. If mailing back, Finn recommends the ballots be sent back five days prior to the primary election date.
In the past four years, Wayne county has seen a rise from 14% to 121% in early voting.
Wayne County could also see a cost benefit with the range of price it costs per voter in years past was between $2.79 to $4.84 dependent on the prescient. The county will pay for the postage to and from each registered rural voter which would be $2.40. For every election from now on, rural residents will have their ballots mailed as those who live within the city limits will still be able to vote early as before or at their designated polling places which can be found under the ‘Election Commissioner’ tab of waynecountyne.org.
Finn was also pleased to mention her office received new equipment including an updated counting machine and results software.
Wayne County Emergency Manager, Nic Kemnitz also updated the board on his upcoming schedule. The next round of the Tornado Advanced TableTop Exercise is scheduled for Thursday, March 19 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. from the WSC Student Center. The exercise will build on their early January event picking up an hour after weather would strike. The ‘TableTop’ events will lead up to the Vigilant Guard Exercise as the National Guard will be hosting a Distinguished Visitor Day for senior leaders and VIPs in Lincoln on May 19.
Kemnitz will serve as one of the Planning Section Chiefs for a Prescribed Fire Burn in a few weeks between March 21 – 27 and also at the annual Nebraska Wildland Fire Academy from April 23 – 26. The Prescribed Fire Burn will take place on the Niobrara Valley Preserve north of the Ainsworth area while the Nebraska Forest Service’s annual event will be held at Fort Robinson.
Kemnitz stated both events will save the county money as these opportunities count towards keeping his TYPE 3 Planning Section Chief Certification current. Kemnitz will also continue to learn about managing wildfires as they have become a threat in northeast Nebraska over the past few years.
Another update closed out the meeting from Berggren Architects about the courthouse project as commissioners went over a few on their concerns.
The next regularly scheduled Wayne County Board of Commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, March 17 at 9 a.m.