The Legislature needs a plan in place to update aging election equipment, though many decisions will hinge on whether leaders pursue statewide all-mail voting, lawmakers were told Monday. Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse told the Legislature’s Special Election Technology Committee that two of his county’s nine vote-counting machines weren’t operating properly on Nov. 8, contributing to some numbers not being available until 5:30 the next morning. But he cautioned against replacing the machines until decisions are made about whether the state should switch to voting only by mail, an option he said he believes has support among the Douglas County Board. “Some of (the board members) have brought it up to me,” he said.
State Sen. John Murante of Gretna, chairman of the special committee, said he believes the group is open to “just about anything,” but that a change as drastic as statewide all-mail voting would need significant input from the public.
“If that’s where the people of Nebraska want to go, I’m willing to look at it,” he said.
Supporters say that option would save taxpayers money by cutting the need for poll workers and polling place equipment. A small portion — about 5 percent — of Nebraska precincts currently vote entirely by mail, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.