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Statewide voter turnout in Tuesday's primary election fell below 25 percent based on preliminary totals, according to Secretary of State John Gale.

County offices are still counting provisional ballots, which will likely boost the total voter turnout, although Gale acknowledged it will not reach his initial prediction of 28 percent.

“Unfortunately, while counties like Blaine and Arthur experienced turnout of better than 70 percent, in some counties, turnout was much smaller than hoped or anticipated,” he said in an email.

Five counties — Douglas, Scotts Bluff, Nance, Thurston and Dakota — had voter turnout in the teens. Lancaster County registered 25 percent turnout.

Gale said he thinks there is the potential to double the turnout in the November general election because of major state races, contested county offices and 17 of 24 contested legislative races on the ballot.

Two statewide races may qualify for recounts depending on their canvass.

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Megan Hunt was the top vote-getter in legislative District 8. However, Mina Davis and Josh Henningsen are 34 votes apart for second and third place, respectively. If the gap decreases to less than 31 votes, that race will be eligible for a recount.

Additionally, there are five votes separating the second- and third-place candidates — Dennis Womack and Brad Ashby — in the Metro Community College District 2 race. That falls within the threshold for an automatic recount. Erin Feichtinger, who received the largest number of votes in that race, will advance to the general election.

State statute allows for an automatic recount if the margin of votes between candidates is less than 1 percent of the total votes received by the top vote-getter.

The Nebraska Board of Canvassers, which meets June 11, will decided whether a recount will be ordered, based on the official vote totals.

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Assistant city editor

Shelly Kulhanek is assistant city editor.

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