The first act of Omaha’s 2021 city election comes to a close Tuesday.
Two candidates for mayor and two candidates in each of seven City Council districts will advance to Omaha’s May 11 general election.
In the mayoral race, incumbent Republican Jean Stothert, seeking a third term, faces challenges from four Democrats: Nonprofit leader Jasmine Harris, commercial real estate broker RJ Neary, Omaha Public Schools board member Kimara Snipes and North High School teacher Mark Gudgel.
Five of the seven City Council district races are competitive and feature at least four candidates. Those races are in South Omaha (District 4), northeast Omaha (District 2), southwest Omaha (District 5), downtown/midtown area (District 3) and the north-central area, including Dundee, Benson and Florence (District 1).
Omaha’s city elections are nonpartisan, which means the top two vote-getters in each race will advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Polling locations are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for those planning to vote in person. You can find information about your polling location by visiting votedouglascounty.com or by calling 402-444-8683.
People who still have a mail-in ballot need to take it to one of 13 drop-box locations or to the Douglas County Election Commission, 12220 West Center Road, before 8 p.m. Tuesday.
It’s too late to put early ballots in the mail because they will not reach election officials in time to be counted.
“Postmarks do not count — they have to be in our possession by 8 p.m. (Tuesday),” said Brian Kruse, Douglas County election commissioner.
Kruse urged people with early ballots to double-check that they have signed the back of the envelope. Ballots with missing signatures will be thrown out.
Tens of thousands of people have already cast their votes. The Election Commission had received about 50,000 mail-in ballots as of Monday morning, which represented about 66% of the 76,600 early ballots that were sent to voters, Kruse said.
He’s expecting about 30% turnout by eligible voters. That would be a high-water mark for an Omaha primary election because historically, turnout in city primaries hovers around 20%.
Kruse partly attributed the expected turnout bump to higher participation in absentee voting. He said a strong slate of candidates and carryover excitement from the 2020 presidential election likely played a role, too.
“We’re looking for a decent turnout,” Kruse said.
Omaha’s 174 polling locations will practice social distancing and offer hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, masks and new pens to each voter, Kruse said.
“We are asking voters — even if you’ve had your vaccine — please, please wear a mask to the polling place (Tuesday), or accept one of ours to protect our fellow poll workers and (fellow) voters,” Kruse said.
Preliminary vote tallies will begin being released at 8 p.m. Check Omaha.com for results.
Omaha mayors, from the beginning to now
Omaha mayors, from the beginning to now
Jesse Lowe 1857-1858
Andrew Jackson Poppleton 1858-1858
David Douglas Belden 1859-1860
Clinton Briggs 1860-1861
George Robert Armstrong 1861-1862
Addison R. Gilmore 1864-1865
Lorin Miller 1865-1866
Charles H. Brown 1867-1868
George M. Roberts 1868-1869
Ezra Millard 1869-1870
Smith Caldwell 1871-1872
Joseph H. Millard 1872-1873
William H. Brewer 1873-1874
J.S. Gibson 1874-1875
Champion S. Chase 1874-1877; 1879-1880; 1883-1884
Rueben H. Wilbur 1877-1888
James E. Boyd 1881-1882; 1885-1886
William J. Broatch 1887-1889; 1896-1897
R.C. Crushing 1890-1891
George P. Bemis 1892-1896
Frank E. Moores 1897-1905
Harry B. Zimman 1905-1906
James C. Dahlman 1906-1918; 1921-1930
Ed. P. Smith 1918-1921
Richard L. Metcalfe (1930-1933)
Roy N. Towl 1933-1936
Dan B. Butler 1936-1945
Charles Leeman 1945-1948
Glenn Cunningham 1948-1954
Johnny Rosenblatt 1954-1961
James Dworak 1961-1965
Alexander Sorensen 1965-1969
Eugene A. Leahy 1969-1973
Edward Zorinsky 1973-1976
Robert Cunningham 1976-1977
Albert L. Veys 1977-1981
Mike Boyle 1981-1987
Bernie Simon 1987-1988
P.J. Morgan 1989-1994
Subby Anzaldo 1994-1995
Hal Daub 1995-2001
Mike Fahey 2001-2009
Jim Suttle 2009-2013
Jean Stothert 2013-Present