There aren’t as many ballot requests by mail in Madison County for the general election as there were for the May primary, but the return rate already is higher.
Anne Pruss, Madison County clerk and election commissioner, said 6,155 ballots were requested for the general election. As of mid-afternoon Friday, 5,500 had been returned, or 89.3%.
During the May primary, 7,656 ballots were requested and 6,768 were returned, which equates to 88.4%.
Pruss said those who haven’t yet turned in a mail ballot should not put it in the mail. That’s because the ballot may not make it to the courthouse by Tuesday at 8 p.m.
In Nebraska, all ballots have to be in by the time the polls close. Any ballots postmarked before Tuesday that do not arrive in time will not be counted, she said.
Instead, ballots may be dropped off at the drop box at the south end of the courthouse, 1313 N. Main St., Madison, or at the City of Norfolk Administration Office on the west side of the building next to the utility payment box, 309 N. Fifth St.
Both sites have cameras for surveillance, and the sheriff’s department picks up the ballots several times a day. On Election Day, a member of law enforcement and a citizen will be at the Norfolk drop box. They will be of opposite political parties to observe drop-offs, Pruss said.
“It’s important that people who have requested to vote by mail do not bring their ballot to the polls,” Pruss said.
People who try to bring their ballots to the polls will not be allowed to insert them in the ballot boxes. Those ballots are marked differently, and mixing the ballots would disrupt the verification system.
As far as Election Day, Pruss said it takes about 110 poll workers in Madison County, and she has that many and a few more. Several high school students also will be assisting at some of the locations.
All of the poll workers will be given their own personal protective equipment, including an N95 mask, shield, rubber gloves and hand sanitizer. There also will be lots of disinfectant. Voters at the polling places will be asked to follow the taped markings for social distancing.
There also will be masks and hand sanitizer for voters when they enter, and voters can throw away their masks upon leaving and keep the pens they receive. All the same primary polling locations will be open for the general election.
The polls across Nebraska open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Results will begin to be released on election night as soon as the polls close.
Pruss said the first results for Madison County will be the early returns of mail-in ballots shortly after 8 p.m. The results then likely will be updated about every 30 minutes at www.madisoncountyne.com/.