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      Thousands of Ballots Already Cast in School Bond Election

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      Thousands have already cast their vote in Hall County's first ever all mail-in election.

      It will decide a $69.9 million bond issue for Grand Island Public Schools.

      "This election has gone quite smoothly," said Dale Baker, Hall County election commissioner.

      Baker's office had accepted 8,144 ballots by Wednesday.

      "These 8,000 ballots would represent what we would have gotten if we would have had just a special election, one day election," said Baker.

      That's what Grand Island Public Schools officials want to hear.

      "We're excited. Part of the reason we elected to go with the mail-in ballot was because, historically what the research tells us is they have a better turnout," said Dr. Robert Winter, GIPS superintendent.

      But, some of the 24,600 ballots haven't made it to voters.

      "We've gotten about 3,000 ballots back here undeliverable, so those are the folks that didn't change their address or for whatever reason," said Baker.

      She says if you haven't received a ballot and live in the GIPS district, you need to contact the Hall County election office. You'll likely have to visit the office to vote.

      Election officials said undeliverable ballots were expected, which wiped away the district superintendent's initial concerns.

      "They weren't real concerned about it so I guess I won't be either," said Winter.

      School officials said they've spread the reasons for the bond and how that money will be spent.

      "Now we're just encouraging people to get out and if they haven't already cast their ballot to please do so," said Winter.

      If you're mailing, election officials said Thursday is likely your last day to send. If it's not delivered by September 9, "they're not going to be counted," said Baker.

      You can also return the ballots to the election office or drop-off on Sycamore Street. Baker reminds voters to sign the ballot envelope.

      Preliminary results are expected just after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday with an official count expected by September 12.

      Baker said her office is feeling pressure because they're also preparing for a general election, but they have brought in temporary help for this special vote.


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