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Cedar County voters smash turn-out record

HARTINGTON — Cedar County residents smashed the old voter turn-out record here Tuesday.

The election prompted 87.6 percent of the county’s registered voters to cast ballots in this year’s General Election. 

The mark even exceeded the expectations of Cedar County Clerk Dave Dowling. Dowling estimated an 85 percent voter turnout.

Days before the deadline arrived, Dowling knew the old voter turn-out record would fall.

Early last week over 50 percent of the 5,780 ballots either mailed out or handed out here had already come back to the Cedar County Clerk’s office.

The most popular way to return the ballots has been through the mail, Dowling said. 

As of noon Tuesday, Dowling said 2,712 had been mailed in, while 1,503 were dropped off in person and 748  ballots were placed in the drop box near the north entrance of the Cedar County Courthouse.

Since 1986, Cedar County has averaged a 71 percent voter turn-out for Presidential elections, Dowling said.

In 2016, a record 75 percent of Cedar County registered voters cast ballots in the General Election. The next highest voter turn-out ever recorded here was back in 1992, when 74 percent of the electorate voted.

Dowling said state law allows him to begin counting ballots as early as a day before the election, however, he did not begin counting until Tuesday afternoon. Official results were released by 8:20 p.m., just 20 minutes after the polls closed in Nebraska.