Write-ins delayed results
If you had hoped for final (though unofficial) Lincoln County election results before bedtime Tuesday, well, blame it on all the write-ins.
Polling went smoothly countywide on Election Day, said County Clerk Becky Rossell, thanks in part to all-new vote-counting equipment and free onsite advice from a representative of Election Systems & Software of Omaha, the machines’ vendor.
But with no fewer than seven races potentially hinging on the votes for write-in candidates — all but one of which were outside North Platte — the final election-night report was delayed until after midnight Wednesday so election workers could hand-count all the write-in ballots, she said.
“I started getting calls — ‘When are you going to have write-ins?’ — so we decided doing (the counting) on the front end was easier than doing it on the back end,” said Rossell, who also serves as election commissioner. “Some of those village boards had 40 names written in.”
Even so, unofficial results including write-in leaders in those races weren’t posted until midmorning Wednesday on the county’s election webpage at co.lincoln.ne.us/2018-election-results.
Of the seven races featuring write-in bids, only the North Platte City Council Ward 4 race was settled by the end of election night. Declared write-in Larry Lee Britton, a former Ward 4 councilman, received 137 votes. May 15 primary winner Ed Rieker won the open seat with 925.
Three non-North Platte races had no filed candidates, while a fourth had only one. Margins between the top write-in candidates in those four races were so close that final winners won’t be known until after today’s official election canvass.
Rossell said 121 provisional ballots, cast by registered voters in the county who changed their names or addresses but didn’t update their registrations, will be verified and counted when the canvass starts at 9:30 a.m.
Official countywide results will be posted online tonight or Friday.
County residents cast 12,563 ballots on or before Election Day, representing 52 percent of all registered voters.
“I wish the turnout had been a bit higher,” said Rossell, who had forecast 58 percent. “I was surprised, because the polling places were busy yesterday.”
Here’s an unofficial roundup of non-North Platte races involving or dependent upon write-in candidates, with labels indicating whether they were declared or undeclared write-ins before the election.
No label means the candidate’s name was printed on the ballot because he or she officially filed for the race.
» Maxwell school board (elect three): Todd McKeeman (declared), 38; Monica Breinig (declared), 36; Shaun Pagel (declared), 36; Robin Huffman (undeclared), 10; Casey Meyer (undeclared), 10; Jason Sommer (undeclared), 6; other write-ins, 55.
» Maxwell Village Board (elect three): Linda Smith, 95; Kevin Paul (undeclared), 2; Terry Gurcillo Jr. (undeclared), 2; Derek Johnson (undeclared), 1; Cody Seamann (undeclared), 1; Brett Seamann (undeclared), 1; Matt Feeney (undeclared), 1; Steven Tolle Jr. (undeclared), 1; Tim Lyzenga (undeclared), 1.
» Wallace Village Board (elect two): Cynthia Jo Wickizer (declared), 46; Charles E. Andrews (declared), 43; Lynn L. Swanson (declared), 38; Scott Sauser (undeclared), 30; other write-ins, 11.
» Wellfleet Village Board (elect two): Mary T. Oldham (declared), 6; Paul A. Prochaska (declared), 5; other write-ins, 15.
» Hershey Village Board (elect three): Loren Johnson, 174; Thomas J. Wolfgang, 162; Peter Cullan (declared), 42; other write-ins, 27.
» Wallace school board (elect three): Josh Friesen, 221; Seth C. Hasenauer, 150; Pam Holm, 123; Grant K. McClintock, 114; Jill Pelster, 100; Michael L. Sullivan (declared), 85; other write-ins, 9.