The Cost of Voting in Nebraska: A Platte Institute Study

The Cost of Voting in Nebraska: A Platte Institute Study

(Note: This is the second in a series of studies exploring various elements of Nebraska’s electoral system. The first study is found here.)

A Primary election is a pre-election process for choosing candidates for the general election. In Nebraska (for all but a few municipal elections), the primary occurs in May, preceding the general election in November.

Nebraska conducts non-partisan primaries (legislative, many local races) and partisan primaries (statewide, federal, and some local races). Any registered voter can vote on the non-partisan primary ballot. To receive a partisan primary ballot, a voter must be registered (with some exceptions) with the party whose ballot they receive. Parties must specifically open their primaries to non-affiliated voters if they wish for them to be able to vote on their primary ballot.

In Nebraska, elections are administered primarily at the county level, with each county having an election commissioner (in smaller counties, the county clerk serves in that role). In this paper, we look only at the costs to counties for conducting elections and compare the costs of primary elections vs. general elections.

While voters typically participate in primary elections at a much lower rate than general elections, we find that administering the primary election in most counties costs taxpayers as much as or more than the general election.

Read the full study here.

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