County turnout at 82%, may be highest
In her four presidential elections, Election Commissioner/Clerk Rita Long can’t recall a higher voter turnout than Tuesday.
Of the 1,884 registered voters, a total of 1,554 voters cast ballots in this year’s General Election. That represents a turnout of 82.48%, which Long said is the highest turnout she can recall during her tenure.
Of the 1,554 voters, 865 cast their ballots prior to Tuesday’s election. That represented 55.6%. Early voting across the country set new records. The COVID-19 pandemic may have played a large role in that.
No doubt the presidential election brought out voters not only in Perkins County but across the nation. However, as of Tuesday night the race between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden remained too close to call in key battleground states.
In Nebraska, Trump will get four of the state’s five electoral votes.
In Perkins County contested races were limited to the school board, village boards and Grant city council.
Grant City Council
Three candidates vied for two four-year term seats on the Grant City Council. Incumbent Kim Bishop and challenger Sam Sims won the two seats. Bishop led the race with 488 votes, follwed by Sims with 470 votes. Incumbent Matt Greenwood finished with 171 votes.
Sims and Bishop join council members Tierney Petersen and Andrea Brueggeman, along with Mayor Lisa Schmitt, as the governing body of Grant.
Perkins County Schools
Incumbent Jayson Bishop, led the Perkins County Schools board race with 1,039 votes. The other two open seats went to Val Foster, who finished with 880 votes, and Holly Cornelius with 763 votes.
Both Foster and Cornelius got on the ballot by petition, as did Janet Lagler.
Foster and Cornelius replace Larry Pritchett and Angie Patrick who did not seek re-election.
They will join board members Angela Gloy, Amy Kroeker and Chris Fryzek.
Village of Madrid
Kristy Ogg, George Adams and Tony Ross were the three names on the ballot for the three available seats on the Madrid Village Board. Both Ogg and Adams are incumbents.
Ross led the voting with 62 votes, followed by Adams with 55 and Ogg with 53.
The other members of the board include Kevin Klahn and Jennifer Baumgartner.
Village of Venango
Incumbent Tom Tines collected 70 votes Tuesday as the only candidate running for two open seats. The other board members
include Troy Grothman, Dennis Ekdahl and Christina Farnsworth.
Village of Elsie
In the Village of Elsie board of trustees race, Derrick Warner claimed a spot on the board with 51 votes.
Tami Cook will fill the second open seat, garnering 41 votes, with Julie Robertson filling the third open seat with 38 votes.
Incumbent Victor Perez drew 30 votes. Board member Amanda Condon ran as a write-in candidate but drew just 16 votes.
They join board members Justin Hutcheson and Lynn Cook.
Madrid Cemetery levy
Madrid residents want to ensure their cemetery has money going into the future.
A ballot initiative to allow the Madrid Cemetery District to levy a property tax not to exceed .02 cents per one hundred dollars of taxable valuation passed by a vote of 126 to 64.
Sid Colson was the only name on the ballot for the seat of County Commissioner, District 1. He received 419 votes.
Nebraskans voted on two constitutional amendments and several initiative referendums put on the ballot this election.
Amendment 1 - This constitutional amendment would eliminate from the state’s constitution any reference to language that included slavery or involuntary servitude for punishment of a crime.
As of Tuesday night, with 80% of Nebraska’s precincts reporting, Nebraskans favored the change by nearly 69%.
Amendment 2 - This constitutional amendment dealt with the length of term for the repayment of tax increment financing to support public infrastructure.
Presently the term is limited to 15 years. Under certain conditions, the Legislature could allow cities and villages to pledge property taxes for a period not to exceed 20 years.
These conditions include a high rate of unemployment combined with a high poverty rate as determined by law, with more than one-half of the property in the project area declared extremely blighted.
This measure was gaining 61% support.
Perhaps the most surprising votes came in support of legalizing casino gambling at Nebraska’s horse racing tracks. Initiative No. 429 looked headed for passage Tuesday night with more than 65% of voters voting in favor of gambling.
Two other initiatives that set up the laws to govern the gambling were also drawing more than 65% support. No. 429 had to pass for the other two initiatives to take effect.
The other initiative on the ballot, No. 428, limited the interest rate that could be charged on payday loans to 36% per annum. This measure drew more than 80% support from Nebraskans.