Paul Schumacher hears it all the time: More and more voters in Nebraska are worried about the secrecy of their ballots in the age of mail-in elections. The angst is especially acute in small towns, where everybody knows everybody, and some voters worry that an election worker will sneak a peek at their ballot and realize they didn’t vote for their crazy brother-in-law. “I have some people who are just outraged by the fact that they know, or think they know, their ballots are being viewed,” said Schumacher, a Republican state senator from Columbus. “In a small community, they worry that someone can see that they didn’t vote for their relative or they voted for someone in another party.”
Election officials say they neither have the time nor the inclination to look at an individual’s ballot. They’re too busy ripping open envelope after envelope. Besides, observers representing each of the state’s two major political parties are on hand to make sure everyone follows the rules, said David Phipps, Douglas County election commissioner.
“Our goal is always to get them opened and get them processed as quickly as we can,” Phipps said. “We’re not sitting around and looking for someone’s specific ballot.”