- Associated Press - Thursday, May 10, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska campaign organizers and political parties have shifted strategies to meet the rising number of early voters ahead of this month’s primary election.

About 44,000 Nebraska residents as of Tuesday voted early for the May 15 election, the Omaha World-Herald reported . About 38,000 of the voters submitted ballots by mail and about 6,000 voted in person at a county election office, according to state figures.

Campaigns are spending more of their budgets on consultants to identify and motivate early voters, said Paul Landow, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Organizers often use public records from the Nebraska secretary of state’s office to find early voters, Landow said. Campaigns can use phone calls, home visits and direct mail to reach those who wait to return an early ballot, he said.

Political parties are trying to boost early voting and reach nonpartisan voters who may be open to their candidates, said Kenny Zoeller, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party.

Young voters increasingly tend to vote early because of convenience, said John Hibbing, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Older voters in Douglas County were more likely to vote early, according to the newspaper’s analysis of data from the latest presidential election and gubernatorial primary. But the average age of early voters dropped from 65 years old in the 2014 primary to 54 in the 2016 general election.

Female early voters in the county also outnumbered males in both races, according to the newspaper’s findings.

Whitney Coriolan, 23, picked up an early ballot when she recently registered to vote in Douglas County.

“I’ve just graduated college,” Coriolan said. “This is my first year as an adult, and this is a way to make sure it gets done and that I have enough time to think and research who I’m going to choose.”

Voters can still pick up a ballot and vote early in person through Monday, or return the ballot by mail before polls close May 15.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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