Editorial Roundup: Nebraska

Lincoln Journal Star. June 14, 2024.

Editorial: Hard conversations, good information should shape vote

Human beings have hard conversations.

Doctors have to give patients bad news. Employers and employees have to share difficult information. Coaches have to talk frankly about players’ performances. Families, it seems, face one tough talk after another.

No one likes a hard conversation, but we have them for a greater good -- to help someone heal, to get a job done, to thrive, to live.

If not already here, then on the horizon, we will all face some hard conversations this election season. It’s essential we have them, for the good of our communities and our country.

The need for straight talk was illustrated clearly in a Flatwater Free Press story by Natalia Alamdari last week on how election conspiracies were spreading in Nebraska. The short answer: Every way imaginable.

Researchers have spent a lot time trying to understand the appeal of conspiracy theories -- in this case that our elections are rigged or determined by “an algorithm.” If a conspiracy is at work, then whatever bad thing just happened (a shooting, a market crash, the person you didn’t want winning an election) has a more satisfying explanation than a random act or the possibility you were just wrong.

In Alamdari’s story, the followers of the Nebraska Voter Accuracy Project, are questioning political donations and claiming elections were rigged by an algorithm. A co-founder of the group at a recent gathering questioned how a state that’s 60% Republican could elect 900 Democrats to offices at any level of government.

Easy. Voters picked the best person, often in nonpartisan races. And 900 of 6,400 election officials, Alamdari noted, is about 14%. Based on that alone, Democrats seem underrepresented.

But tossing out numbers out of context or vague terms like “algorithm,” things that made our eyes glaze over in middle school, provides an unearned veneer of credibility.

Secretary of State Bob Evnen captured the conundrum: “A lot of the information is just incorrect. To try to excite people over misinformation is not something anybody ought to aspire to. On the other hand, people have the right to go out and express themselves. We try to meet it by looking into claims that are made, and report what we’ve found.”

Those words shouldn’t apply just to the secretary of state. They should apply to us all.

Many say the topics of religion and politics should be avoided in polite conversation for their propensity to create tension. For the sake of our nation, it’ll be important to have hard conversations.

In a world where even facts seem hard to agree on, our ability to process and present credible information and civilly disagree with each other will be essential to our future.


McCook Gazette. June 13, 2024.

Editorial: Audit confirms integrity of primary election

Despite efforts to undermine election results that don’t favor some candidates’ preferred outcome, Nebraska’s election process is alive ad well.

Monday’s certification of the May 14, 2024, statewide primary election by the Nebraska Board of State Canvassers underscores the integrity of our electoral processes.

The Nebraska Board of State Canvassers, comprising Gov. Jim Pillen, Secretary of State Bob Evnen, Attorney General Mike Hilgers, State Treasurer Tom Briese, and Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Foley, convened as mandated to review and certify the election results. Their thorough examination found no need for automatic recounts in any statewide races, proof of the reliability of our state’s vote tabulation.

A notable aspect of this election was the successful implementation of Nebraska’s new voter ID law. For the first time, all voters were required to present acceptable photo identification before casting their ballots. Despite initial concerns about potential voter disenfranchisement or confusion, the process was executed flawlessly. Secretary of State Bob Evnen expressed his gratitude towards election officials and poll workers for their dedication, which ensured that 99.95% of voters provided the necessary identification.

The rigorous post-election audit confirmed other findings. The Elections Division conducted a random hand-count of ballots from 40 precincts, encompassing 7,898 ballots. This meticulous review revealed no discrepancies between the hand-count and the machine tabulated results, reinforcing confidence in the accuracy of our ballot counting equipment.

Voter turnout for this primary was another positive indicator of the health of our democracy. With 346,661 Nebraskans casting their ballots, the turnout was 28%, surpassing pre-pandemic trends and demonstrating a resilient and engaged electorate. This turnout reflects a return to stability and a reaffirmation of trust in the electoral process.

Moreover, the trend of voting by mail, which surged during the pandemic, continues to persist, indicating flexibility and accessibility in our voting methods. While a majority still prefer to vote in person at their polling places, 40% of voters chose to vote early by mail, drop box, or in-person early voting.

The diverse participation across political affiliations also highlights the inclusivity of our elections. Notably, 36.1% of registered Republicans, 28.4% of registered Democrats, and various other party members and nonpartisans exercised their right to vote, reflecting a broad spectrum of engagement.

Nebraska’s election system, as demonstrated in the recent primary, exemplifies transparency, accuracy, and voter accessibility. The proactive measures taken by the state, including the implementation of voter ID laws and thorough post-election audits, ensure that every vote is counted accurately and fairly. As we look forward to future elections, Nebraskans can remain confident in the integrity and reliability of their electoral process.

The upcoming deadlines for initiative and referendum petitions, and the preparations for the November general election, further highlight the continuous and meticulous efforts to uphold the sanctity of our democratic system.

The integrity of Nebraska’s election system is not just a matter of policy but a reflection of the unwavering commitment of its officials and citizens. By maintaining rigorous standards and embracing transparency, Nebraska sets a commendable example for other states to follow.