Voters in Benson Tower Can't Vote There

By: Ann McIntire Email
By: Ann McIntire Email

Voting for Nebraska's primary has been mostly quiet, however a few glitches have cropped up. One of those is at the Benson Towers, a polling site, where residents are used to voting for years, but now they are being asked to vote several blocks away.

"It's ridiculous for me to walk past one poll to go vote at another one," said Benson Tower resident, Dinita Cargle. She did vote Tuesday, but she had an unexpected walk before she was able to cast her ballot.

Ruth Thomas also lives in the Benson Towers, and didn't vote. She says she won't after an unexpected problem. "That's not right, why would it be in our building, for someone else to come in our building, and we can't even vote in our own building."

The Douglas County Democratic Party, after finding out about the issue around 3 p.m., did bring in two buses. They will work on a shuttle basis until 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, to take anyone who wants to vote to the correct polling site.

"It could be five, it could be fifty," said Executive Director of the Douglas County Democratic Party, Kiernan McCarney. "We were contacted by about three people in the span of five minutes, all with the same problem, at that time we didn't take the time to determine how many people needed it, we just wanted to be sure we were able to service as many people as would need it."

McCarney says he's infuriated by the problem. "If the election commissioner had taken time to get input from the public and the community, before making such a drastic change in this particular election cycle, then it never would have been a problem in the first place."

However, in other areas, both in south and north Omaha, like the Fort Omaha Metro Campus, things ran smoothly, and quietly.

Two voters, Nola and Joseph Jeanpierre, were not happy with the turn out. "No not really, because it usually be a line, a line all the way around the building," said Joseph Jeanpierre.

Nola says people just don't understand the importance of their duty. "For me, our ancestors died so we could vote, it's very important and to get your candidate in, those who you feel have your views, it's important."

Dave Phipps, the Election Commissioner, does expect a lower turnout for this election.

He also says the Benson Tower residents got switched to a different polling site because they are part of a larger precinct. The entire precinct was moved to a new voting location. The adjacent precinct is using Benson Tower as their polling site because there was not an adequate building in their area.

Phipps agrees, it's not ideal.

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