Over the next couple of days, certain Dawes County voters will receive a ballot in the mail allowing them to cast their vote in the special bond election for the Chadron school district.
It’s the first mail-in election the county has conducted, and it comes with some rules voters may not be familiar with.
The ballots will be delivered to the post office today (Feb. 22). Dawes County Clerk Cheryl Feist said the ballots will be separated by town so Chadron residents’ ballots will not have to travel to Alliance first before delivery, thereby speeding up the process.
Ballots are being delivered to anyone who resides within the Chadron school district borders.
“If you have voted on the Chadron school board in the past and you are living at the same address you will more than likely be eligible to vote in this election,” Feist said.
Voters have until March 13 at 5 p.m. to return their completed ballots. Individuals can bring the ballots to the clerk’s office at the Dawes County Courthouse or mail them back. However, it’s important to note that the ballots must be in the office by March 13 at 5 p.m., a March 13 postmark date is not sufficient, Feist said. Voters who return their ballots through the mail are responsible for the postage, which is $1.10 per ballot.
All ballots must be returned in their own envelopes. Multiple ballots cannot be placed into one envelope, Feist said.
The instructions accompanying the ballot tell voters to fill out the ballot with the number two pencil provided, but there will be no pencils sent out with the ballots, she said. Any number two pencil will work to complete the ballot.
Once the ballot is completed, voters must fill out the oath on the envelope and sign it.
“More importantly than almost anything is that they get that signature on that oath or we cannot count the vote,” Feist said.
In regular elections where early voting is completed with mailed ballots, voters can only return their own ballot and that of one other person to the courthouse in person. However, in this type of election, Feist said an individual voter can bring in ballots for several people.
“I wouldn’t recommend they go out and gather up their whole block but they can bring in all the ballots from their household,” she said.
Finally, Feist recommends that voters fill out their ballots and return them soon after receiving them so they don’t forget about them.
The counting board will count the votes March 13, and the canvassing board will certify the election results March 15.