LINCOLN —Voters here have it easy in today's primary election.
Compared with the heated races in Omaha last week, Lincoln's ballot contains just one true contest. Of the seven candidates vying for City Council positions, only one will not move on to the general election in May.
Voters have only one candidate to choose from for each of the five remaining races: four school board races and one airport authority position. In comparison, Omaha had 39 people vying for nine spots on the Omaha Public Schools board.
“It is unusual for us,” said Lancaster County Election Commissioner David Shively. “Usually we have some more contested races.”
Shively said it's possible the election is less heated than Omaha's because Lincoln city elections alternate every two years, while Omaha's city elections take place only every four years with the mayoral election.
Lancaster County Republican Chairman Matt Innis said Lincoln's tilt toward the Democratic Party may be cutting the number of Republicans who run.
“People see how hard it is to run and how they get attacked (in campaigns), and they get discouraged,” Innis said. “But the people that do run are those who have the courage to get in.”
Lancaster County Democratic Chairman John Yoakum said the number of candidates for City Council positions is typical for Lincoln.
“There's usually about seven to 10 candidates,” Yoakum said.
Recent changes made by the Nebraska Legislature to the Omaha school board likely accounted for the large number of candidates in Omaha, said Lincoln board of education President Ed Zimmer. All nine positions on the OPS school board were open this spring, while Lincoln has only four open spots.
“There certainly is usually more of a contest,” Zimmer said. “I hope the fact that none of our incumbents are challenged maybe reflects some satisfaction of the work of the board.”
The polls will be open today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A list of polling locations can be found on the Lancaster County election commissioner's website. Early voter ballots must be returned to the Election Commissioner's Office by 8 p.m.
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