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PNS Daily Newscast - November 16, 2018 


Winter Storm Avery takes lives, puts the brakes on commutes across the Northeast. Also on our Friday rundown: A first-of-its-kind report calls for policies to ease transitions of young people living in foster care. And "got gratitude" this holiday season? It could benefit your health.

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Nebraskans Mobilize to Protect Elections

Nebraska's nine-to-five workers can cast their ballots for the midterm elections on Saturday. All ballots must be in no later than Tues., Nov. 6 at 8:00 p.m. (Galatas)
Nebraska's nine-to-five workers can cast their ballots for the midterm elections on Saturday. All ballots must be in no later than Tues., Nov. 6 at 8:00 p.m. (Galatas)
November 2, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. – As the midterm elections draw near, a group is on the job in Nebraska, making sure that all registered voters will be able to perform their civic duty.

Shannon Casey is a community organizer with Civic Nebraska, which has a long-standing partnership with election commissioners across the state. She says her team works to identify and help solve problems, whether it's at a specific polling location or trouble with mail-in ballots.

"We run an election protection program,” says Casey. “Coming up for November 6th, we have 120 volunteers that will be in, I believe, seven different counties – observing elections. But then we take those results, and if we find issues and we find concerns, we bring those to the individual election commissioners."

She cites the recent primary elections where one party opened its ballot to all voters, which caused confusion when some people got a one-page ballot instead of a three-page ballot. Casey says her team was able to quickly spot the issue, and worked with commissioners to make corrections.

Removing barriers to voting is also a key part of their work, and Casey notes the expansion of mail-in ballots and allowing voters to cast votes the Saturday before elections have both been great successes.

"With people working multiple jobs – attending college, those kinds of things, taking care of families – we found that a day for voting that was away from a weekday really helped turnout," says Casey.

Casey says her team is getting an updated list daily of mail-in ballots that have been rejected, and they're making phone calls to hundreds of voters so they can fix what might seem like an obvious problem.

"I think that is the biggest thing is educating voters that vote by mail, you know, not only on the option of vote by mail, but also to sign the envelope,” says Casey. “That is the number one reason for a rejected vote-by-mail ballot."

Mail-in ballots, just like ballots at the polls, must be received no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6th. Casey says official ballot drop boxes don't require postage. If you do hand it off to your postal delivery worker, you only need one regular or 'forever' stamp.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - NE