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Election spotters at local precincts

Hebron’s south and Bruning’s precincts had unidentified visitors on election day last week.
In Hebron, a male spotter said he was checking for ADA compliance at the poll site and if the ballot machine designed for disabled voters was in working order.
He showed no credentials, but did introduce himself as a disabled voter, election commissioner, Marie Rauner said.
Another spotter went to the Bruning-Belvidere precinct at the opera house in Bruning. He asked basic voter questions and if there were provisionals for non-partisan voters.
“I have no idea who he was representing,” Rauner said. “We’re always told there can be spotters in the area, but we’ve never had any.”
Laura Strimple, communications director for the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office said there are a variety of organizations, like Civic Nebraska, that periodically check polling places.
“They are pretty good about following the rules and not interfering with the election process,” she said.
Steve Smith of Civic Nebraska said election observers wear laminated badges and introduce themselves to commissioners and poll workers. The organization has monitored poll locations since 2012.
Rauner had another slight issue on election day. Petitioners were at both Hebron precincts gathering signatures for expanding the Medicaid and Medicare program.
“I heard later they went downtown for signatures,” she said.
Rauner said the petitioners were told to leave the 200-foot legal boundary around the precincts.
“They were catching signatures right outside the door and they had to be told to step back,” she said.
Rauner hasn’t heard anything from the secretary of state’s office.
Primary election day in Thayer County saw a 32 percent voter turnout and higher than the state’s 25 percent average.
Speaking of which, Rauner had 543 votes county-wide to Megan Hinrichs’ 367 for another four years as the Thayer County Clerk. Rauner will not be contested in the November election.
In Hebron, LB840 passed 345 to 68 for one-third of the city’s sales tax to be used for economic development.
Deshler’s new mayor is Mike Finke, who received 85 votes. candidate Julie Deepe had 62 of the votes and candidate Arlis Hohl, 27.
Additionally, Dist. 32 Sen. Laura Ebke was contested by two candidates for the Nebraska Legislature and one of them, Tom Brandt, received 536 votes in the county  to Ebke’s 343. Both move onto the November election.
Gov. Pete Ricketts maintained 705 votes while challenger Krystal Gabel had 183.
On the national level, republican congressman, Adrian Smith had three running against him. Kirk Penner, who campaigned in Hebron, secured 221 votes in comparison to Aaron Kowalski’s 55 votes and Laary Lee Scott Bolinger’s 8. Smith had 630 people vote for him.
The deadline for incumbents to file for villages and Class II schools is July 15. New filers have until Aug. 1.
Additional results may be found at electionresults.sos.ne.gov.    

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