Poll workers and voters participate in Omaha Primary Election Day

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 4:27 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Today’s Omaha Primary Election will look nothing like the record-breaking presidential election in Douglas County last year. The in-person turnout is expected to be low as tens of thousands of voters elected to vote by mail or early voting.

There just might have been more poll workers at the election sites through the city today. Those volunteers tell 6 News they believe they are a big part of any election and our democracy.

Douglas County officials expected no line at the poll for in-person voting today but the poll workers are here and ready to help. There were plenty of poll workers at the polling place at Skutt High School and they say these volunteers help make election day go.

“Without the people here, there would be no voting, there would be no democracy. That’s what our country is founded on, we need people to come out here work and volunteer,” said poll worker Richard Sampson.

Around 9:30 a.m. at the high school, there were more poll workers than voters in the voting place.

“So far, this morning we’ve had between both precincts, we’ve had 20 voters,” said Richard.

Poll workers at Midtown’s Lifegate Church are also having a slow morning.

“I thought it was going to be busy, but who knows what the rest of the day will bring,” said poll worker John Zak.

John is a poll worker at the church and believes more people took a different route to cast their ballots in this primary.

This has been a fairly active precinct. We usually get a lot of voters, it’s a little bit slower right now than in previous elections and I’m sure some of that is provisional balloting and mail-in voting,” said Zak.

When the pandemic hit, Douglas County officials found themselves in need of volunteers to work the polls. COVID-19 didn’t stop John from volunteering.

“I work at a hospital, it didn’t bother me and we have all kinds of precautions. Everyone wears a mask, there’s hand sanitizer, the election commission is making sure everyone is safe,” said Zak.

John has been working the elections sites for years and says he was drafted into the election process.

“The first time I got selected to do it, I did probably four elections at Yates school,” said Zak.

Those four years were followed by more than a decade of volunteering to work the polls.

“I think it’s part of our duty for the elections and I like doing it. We have the right to exercise our right to vote, people have to be here to assure that people can come in and vote,” said Zak.

Voters didn’t have to worry about waiting in long lines to cast their ballots today. Maybe it was the cloudy day that kept people away from the polls this morning.

Around 11 a.m., Linda Liske and her mom Karen made their way to Shepherd of the Hills Luthern Church. Karen is voting in person because she thought navigating a mail-in ballot might be a little rough.

“Oh, I never would have got that straightened out,” said Karen.

“I usually would vote by mail but my mom likes to vote in person so I just drove her today and decided to do that but it’s important for us to vote. You want to make sure that you’re represented and you want to make sure your area of the community has a voice and someone looking out for you,” said Linda.

Today it is the poll workers who are looking out for voters who came out to vote in person. Making sure they get directions to carry out their civic duty, Dempris Edmonson has volunteered at the polls for close to 20 years.

She decided to help after suffering a major loss in her life.

“After my husband passed I wanted to be active and do something so I volunteered. I feel like I’m helping and I’m helping people that believe in voting,” said Dempris.

The polls close tonight at 8 p.m.

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