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Sides: Pandemic-Impacted Primary Better Than Anticipated, but Revealed Challenges

Sides: Pandemic-Impacted Primary Better Than Anticipated, but Revealed Challenges

Scotts Bluff County’s Election Commissioner says Tuesday’s Primary contest went better than anticipated, but it did reveal some challenges that may need to be addressed before this year’s General election.

As was the case across the state, the county saw many more early/absentee ballots than in-person tallies, 5178 compared to 1559. A record number of voters cast absentee ballots in Nebraska at nearly 400,000.

Kelly Sides tells KNEB News with all the changes leading into the primary due to the virus pandemic, she felt the office ended up understaffed to handle the early voting. “There were a lot of hours to get that entered and caught up, and we needed some help for that part,” said Sides. “You’re not really prepared for a shut-down of a building, and it’s an odd time to interview somebody for a job.”

Sides says fortunately, members of the Nebraska National Guard were on hand to help, primary for support with set-up, tear-down and cleaning polling sites, but they had also been trained before being stationed in the county for polling place workers if needed.

She says the lack of in-person training, and the need to find new workers as some of the regulars understandably did not work this time around out of health concerns. were some of the key areas her office would start working on ahead of the November election. Tuesday marked Sides’ first full election after taking over as County Clerk and Election Commissioner.

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