Records are being broken in voter registration for both Lancaster County and the state, while early voting requests are significantly higher than those of four years ago, election officials said Thursday.
Secretary of State John Gale said 1,219,644 people have registered to vote in Nebraska for the 2018 general election, topping the previous record of 1,211,101 set two years ago.
"Nebraskans have registered in higher numbers than we have ever seen, which is especially impressive for a midterm election," he said in a news release.
Lancaster County's voter registration neared 192,000, Election Commissioner David Shively said, with 2,600 more voters than the previous record.
Amid record registration numbers, Gale and Shively both said they expect more than half of the registered voters in the state and county, respectively, to cast ballots this year.
Statewide turnout should reach 56 percent, Gale said; Shively predicts 106,000 votes in Lancaster County — a voter turnout of 55 percent.
"As this is my final election that I will oversee as your Secretary of State, I have high hopes for record turnout," Gale said. "But it all comes down to the voters. There are significant races and issues to decide."
Gale encouraged voters to take time to vote or to return their early ballots to their election office.
"Your ballot is waiting for you," he said, "go cast it."
As the methods for voting have expanded, more Nebraskans have already made their choice this year through early voting than four years ago.
Of the 213,791 requests for an early ballot so far, whether through the mail, in-person at an election office, or in an all-mail precinct, a total of 142,480 voters have already made their decision.
Four years ago, only 117,710 Nebraskans took part in early voting. That number grew substantially for the 2016 general election, when 220,914 people cast a ballot before Election Day.
In Lancaster County, election officials have received more than 34,000 requests for early voting ballots, Shively said, which far exceeds the 21,126 received in the last midterm election.
2018 Voter's Guide
2018 Lincoln Journal Star Voter's Guide — General Election Edition
Your guide to Lincoln-area races that will appear on the Nov. 6, 2018 general election ballot. Click on a race name to view candidates and other information.
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