On Tuesday, Lincolnites have the opportunity to exercise the most important right in our democracy by casting a ballot that will help determine, in part, which path the city should take for the next four years.
Tuesday’s contests for Lincoln City Council, Lincoln Airport Authority and Lincoln Board of Education haven’t drawn the attention of a mayor’s race or state and national contests that elect governors, state senators, members of Congress and presidents.
But, practically, those who are elected Tuesday will have far greater impact on the daily lives and pocketbooks of Lincolnites as they will address everything from property tax rates and public safety to remote learning and potholes.
Many general election ballots have already been cast by mail or in early voting at the Lancaster County Election Office. In the April primary, more than two-thirds of the 44,725 votes were cast early. A similar percentage is expected in the general election.
That total came to 25% of Lincoln’s eligible voters. In contrast, in May 2020, 41% of those registered voted in the primary election. Last November, that number increased to a record 78%.
While it is unlikely that Tuesday’s election will reach the 50% mark, an increase in voter turnout that would break 33% turnout would be a good mark for local elections that, in fact, could be determined by a few votes.
That is particularly the case in the Lincoln City Council race where the difference between the second and fourth place finishers was just 600 votes. Three at large council members will be chosen Tuesday.
Over the last month, the Journal Star editorial board has interviewed candidates for the contested races via Zoom and considered information and positions the candidates contributed to the Journal Star’s Voter’s Guide. Those interview videos can be viewed along with the voter’s guide at journalstar.com.
From those interviews and the voter’s guide, the editorial board has made the following endorsements:
* For Lincoln City Council, the board endorses the three incumbents, Sandra Washington, Roy Christensen and Bennie Shobe along with Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission member Tom Beckius.
* For Lincoln Airport Authority, the endorsements go to John Olsson and Nicki Behmer.
* For the Lincoln Board of Education, the board endorses incumbents Kathy Danek and Don Mayhew in contested races, along with incumbents Barbara Baier and Lanny Boswell, who are running unopposed.
Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Take the time to vote to make your voice heard for the good of the community.