TRENTON, Nebraska -- Hitchcock County Public Schools district patrons have narrowly approved $7.4 million in upgrades and renovations to their school facilities during a two-week mail-in election that saw 80 percent of registered voters cast ballots.
Voters approved the issuance of bonds to finance the improvements by a margin of just 15 votes, 501 for and 486 against. Ballots mailed April 25 were counted after the 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday.
This was Hitchcock County's first all mail-in election, and Daugherty said office staff heard comments for and against the process. Many appreciate the convenience of not having to come to the courthouse to complete a ballot on election day, that it's much easier to study the issue at home and then mail the ballot or drop off the ballot at the courthouse.
The counting process Tuesday went smoothly, Daugherty said, as County Clerk Margaret Pollmann assigned each of her election workers a specific duty.
Daugherty called an 80 percent turnout of voters "a success," explaining that Hitchcock County officials may decide to use the mail-in process for other elections. The all-mail election method can be used to decide most special ballot issues. Special elections involving an office vacancy or a recall of an official must use polling places.
"Smaller counties, such as Cherry County, are seeing a better voter turnout with the mail-in process," Daugherty said, "because of the convenience to voters of not having to take time out of their day to go vote."
Election results this morning are preliminary. The canvassing board will meet Thursday, and results of the election will be forwarded to the Secretary of State May 25.
School district patrons rejected bond sales for $9.8 million in improvements in November 2010, by a vote of 521-295.