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Nebraska Secretary of State 'disappointed' by low voter turnout in primary

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The primary election now is now in the books, and on Wednesday Nebraska Secretary of State said he was disappointed by how few voters showed up at the polls.

Secretary John Gale said just 24.3 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the primary, fewer than what his office predicted.

Ballots will continue to be counted through May 23, but the Secretary Gale has released preliminary voter turnout numbers.

Sec. Gale said, out of the 1,199,660 registered voters in Nebraska, only about 291,197 voted in the primary.

That means just 24 percent of registered voters cast a ballot - Sec. Gale said his office was hoping for at least 28 percent.

"Frankly I'm disappointed. I feel so passionately, about what I do as chief election officer that I would dream of always having 51 percent turnout in every primary or general election, but that's not realistic. Nonetheless, it was lower than what we had expected," Gale said. "Government belongs to those who turn out and vote. If you want to make a difference in the leadership in county positions, state positions or federal positions, then you really need to turn out in the primary to influence the choice for the candidate in the general election."

Sec. Gale also said he was encouraged that in 22 of our 93 counties in Nebraska, 40 percent of voters showed up at the polls. In 26 counties, turnout was between 30 and 40 percent.

Unofficially, Blaine County has the highest turnout with 74.3 percent of registered voters participating. Dakota County has the lowest turnout with just 12.3 percent of voters casting a ballot.

Turnout in Hall County was 21.8 percent, in Adams County 21.5 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, and in Buffalo County turnout was 20.4 percent.

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Sec. Gale hopes at least 51 percent of registered voters will participate in the general election on Nov. 6.

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