Nebraska Revised Statute 32-1027

Chapter 32 Section 1027

32-1027.

Counting board for early voting; appointment; duties.

(1) The election commissioner or county clerk shall appoint two or more registered voters to the counting board for early voting. One registered voter shall be appointed from the political party casting the highest number of votes for Governor or for President of the United States in the county in the immediately preceding general election, and one registered voter shall be appointed from the political party casting the next highest vote for such office. The election commissioner or county clerk may appoint additional registered voters to serve on the counting board and may appoint registered voters to serve in case of a vacancy among any of the members of the counting board. Such appointees shall be balanced between the political parties and may include registered voters unaffiliated with any political party. The counting board may begin carrying out its duties not earlier than the second Monday before the election and shall meet as directed by the election commissioner or county clerk.

(2) The counting board shall place all identification envelopes in order and shall review each returned identification envelope pursuant to verification procedures prescribed in subsections (3) and (4) of this section.

(3) In its review, the counting board shall determine if:

(a) The voter has provided his or her name, residence address, and signature on the voter identification envelope;

(b) The ballot has been received from the voter who requested it and the residence address is the same address provided on the voter's request for a ballot for early voting, by comparing the information provided on the identification envelope with information recorded in the record of early voters or the voter's request;

(c) A completed and signed registration application has been received from the voter by the deadline in section 32-302, 32-321, or 32-325 or by the close of the polls pursuant to section 32-945;

(d) An identification document has been received from the voter not later than the close of the polls on election day if required pursuant to section 32-318.01; and

(e) A completed and signed registration application and oath has been received from the voter by the close of the polls on election day if required pursuant to section 32-946.

(4) On the basis of its review, the counting board shall determine whether the ballot shall be counted or rejected as follows:

(a) A ballot received from a voter who was properly registered on or prior to the deadline for registration pursuant to section 32-302 or 32-321 shall be accepted for counting without further review if:

(i) The name on the identification envelope appears to be that of a registered voter to whom a ballot for early voting has been issued or sent;

(ii) The residence address provided on the identification envelope is the same residence address at which the voter is registered or is in the same precinct and subdivision of a precinct, if any; and

(iii) The identification envelope has been signed by the voter;

(b) In the case of a ballot received from a voter who was not properly registered prior to the deadline for registration pursuant to section 32-302 or 32-321, the ballot shall be accepted for counting if:

(i) A valid registration application completed and signed by the voter has been received by the election commissioner or county clerk prior to the close of the polls on election day;

(ii) The name on the identification envelope appears to be that of the person who requested the ballot;

(iii) The residence address provided on the identification envelope and on the registration application is the same as the residence address as provided on the voter's request for a ballot for early voting; and

(iv) The identification envelope has been signed by the voter;

(c) In the case of a ballot received from a voter without a residence address who requested a ballot pursuant to section 32-946, the ballot shall be accepted for counting if:

(i) The name on the identification envelope appears to be that of a registered voter to whom a ballot has been sent;

(ii) A valid registration application completed and signed by the voter, for whom the residence address is deemed to be the address of the office of the election commissioner or county clerk pursuant to section 32-946, has been received by the election commissioner or county clerk prior to the close of the polls on election day;

(iii) The oath required pursuant to section 32-946 has been completed and signed by the voter and received by the election commissioner or county clerk by the close of the polls on election day; and

(iv) The identification envelope has been signed by the voter; and

(d) In the case of a ballot received from a registered voter required to present identification before voting pursuant to section 32-318.01, the ballot shall be accepted for counting if:

(i) The name on the identification envelope appears to be that of a registered voter to whom a ballot has been issued or sent;

(ii) The residence address provided on the identification envelope is the same address at which the voter is registered or is in the same precinct and subdivision of a precinct, if any;

(iii) A copy of an identification document authorized in section 32-318.01 has been received by the election commissioner or county clerk prior to the close of the polls on election day; and

(iv) The identification envelope has been signed by the voter.

(5) In opening the identification envelope or the return envelope to determine if registration applications, oaths, or identification documents have been enclosed by the voters from whom they are required, the counting board shall make a good faith effort to ensure that the ballot remains folded and that the secrecy of the vote is preserved.

(6) The counting board may, on the second Monday before the election, open all identification envelopes which are approved, and if the signature of the election commissioner or county clerk or his or her employee is on the ballot, the ballot shall be unfolded, flattened for purposes of using the optical scanner, and placed in a sealed container for counting as directed by the election commissioner or county clerk. At the discretion of the election commissioner or county clerk, the counting board may begin counting early ballots no earlier than twenty-four hours prior to the opening of the polls on the day of the election.

(7) If an identification envelope is rejected, the counting board shall not open the identification envelope. The counting board shall write Rejected on the identification envelope and the reason for the rejection. If the ballot is rejected after opening the identification envelope because of the absence of the official signature on the ballot, the ballot shall be reinserted in the identification envelope which shall be resealed and marked Rejected, no official signature. The counting board shall place the rejected identification envelopes and ballots in a container labeled Rejected Ballots and seal it.

(8) As soon as all ballots have been placed in the sealed container and rejected identification envelopes or ballots have been sealed in the Rejected Ballots container, the counting board shall count the ballots the same as all other ballots and an unofficial count shall be reported to the election commissioner or county clerk. No results shall be released prior to the closing of the polls on election day.