by Nikki McKim
Just after 10:00 p.m., unofficial Richardson County results of the 2020 General Election were released.
In a memorable election cycle, State Sen. Julie Slama defeated Janet Palmtag in a heated race for Legislature. The extremely publicized race ended with Slama taking 68 percent of the votes in the District. In Richardson County, Slama easily took the win over Palmtag with 2,815 over Palmtags 1,057. There were 14 write-in votes; one overvote and 183 undervotes. Slama was the youngest member of the Legislature when Governor Pete Ricketts appointed her in 2018.
Richardson County voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump with a total of 2,918; Former Vice President Joe Biden received 981 of the votes and Lib. Jo Jorgensen received 56 votes. There were eight write-ins, ten overvotes and 35 undervotes. Looks like it could be a while before we know who won the Presidential race.
Locally, Republican Rick Karas edged out Democrat Phil Hitchcock for the District 3 County Commissioners seat, 981 to Hitchcock’s 374. There were five write-in votes, one overvote and 49 undervotes.
District 2 County Commissioner David D. Sickel held onto his seat running unopposed, receiving 1,256 votes with 22 write-ins and 245 undervotes.
Humboldt voters voted to retain Humboldt Mayor Robert Mendenhall, 291 to 161, with nine undervotes.
In the race for United States Senator, Ben Sasse easily retained his seat and took the majority of Richardson County with 2,941 votes over Democrat Chris Janicek, who had 669. Libertarian Gene Siadek finished with an impressive 190 votes.
Adriane Smith also sailed into an easy win for District 3 Congress with 2,927 votes in Richardson County over his opponents, Mark Elworth, Jr. 779 and Libertarian Dustin C. Hobbs, 124.
In the Judges races, Richardson County voted yes to retain Judge Funke with 2,137 yes; 1,140 no. Yes to retain Judge Stine, 2,128; no, 1093. Yes to retain Judge block, 2,094; no 1,119. Yes to retain Judge Smith, 2,256; no, 1,107. Yes to retain Judge Schreiner, 2081; no 1,139. Yes to retain Judge Maschman, 2,376; no, 1,209.
Dan Jones came out on top with 2,135 votes in the Falls City School Board race, followed by Scott Hollens with 20,21, then June Bowers with 2,020. There were three overvotes and 2,611 undervotes.
The race for Humboldt School Board saw Kyle Hilgenfield on top with 756 votes, followed by Michael Kanel with 683, Crystal Dunekacke with 608, followed by Leah M. Reyes, 389 and Grand Reynolds, 286. There were five write-ins and 663 undervotes.
Four Falls City, City Council members ran unopposed. Amber Holle in Ward 1 had 525 votes with 85 undervotes; Kaylie Ractliffe in Ward 2 had 377 votes with 108 undervotes; Carla Rhodd in Ward 3 had 382 votes with 84 undervotes and Jim Wisdom in Ward 4 had 301 votes with one overvote and 41 undervotes.
Falls City Airport Authority saw Shawn Fouraker edged out David Mullins with a vote of 1,382 to 1,327 with four overvotes and 1,129 undervotes.
Two Humboldt City Council members ran unopposed. Larry Stauffer in Ward 1 had 135 votes with 27 undervotes and Stacey J. Edmundson had 169 votes with 29 undervotes.
In the unopposed NRD races, Eldon Snoke came out with 535 votes for NRD-8; Jon Keithley had 1,298 votes for NRD-9; and James Gerweck had 1,565 for NRD-10.
Lana Willman had 3,024 votes for ESU-4-District 2 with one overvote and 819 undervotes; Amy Clark had 170 votes for ESU-4-District 4 with 39 undervotes.
Barada Village Board had 15 write-ins and 21 undervotes.
The Dawson Village Board had 50 votes for Bill Koch and 54 undervotes.
Preston Village Board had ten write-in votes and 32 undervotes.
The Stella Village Board Race saw Heath Stanley get 71 votes and Jim Donahoe received 70, Paulina Gossman received 13 write-in votes. There were 56 undervotes.
The Verdon Village Board top three were Lois Miller with 69 votes, Gary Cochran with 64 and Vicky Cochran with 39. Then Jacob Bents with 30 and Wade Lowe with 18. There were 32 undervotes and three write-ins.
Proposed Amendment No. 1 to remove Slavery as punishment for crime from the Constitution. The Nebraska State Constitution allows courts to punish criminals with “involuntary servitude,” which has meant that prisoners can be required to work while serving their sentences. Amendment 1 would change the state constitution, striking out words as follows: “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state, otherwise than for punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Meaning courts may not sentence criminals to labor, nor prisons require labor from those serving their sentences. The vote was for 2,123; against, 1,543 with four overvotes and 400 undervotes. Statewide, for 584,398; against, 273,645.
On the Proposed Amendment 2, Tax Increment Finance, Repayment Amendment – A yes supported the amendment to increase the repayment period for tax increment financing from 15 to 20 years for areas where more than one-half of properties are designed as extremely blighted. A no vote opposes the amendment, keeping the repayment period for tax increment financing at 15 years, including areas where more than one-half of properties are designed as extremely blighted. Richardson County voted 2,004 for and 1,541 against with one overvote and 524 undervotes. Nebraska voted 503,877 for and 322,035 against.
The Initiative Measure 428, A vote ‘for’ would amened Nebraska statutes to (1) reduce the amount that delayed deposit services licensees, also known as payday lenders, can charge to a maximum annual percentage rate of thirty-six percent; (2) prohibit payday lenders from evading this rate cap; and (3) deem void and uncollectable any delayed deposit transaction made in violation of this rate cap.
A vote ‘against’ would not cause the Nebraska statutes to be amended in such manner. In Richardson County, there were 2,790 votes for and 807 against with two overvotes and 471 undervotes. In Nebraska, there were 702,735 votes for and 145,510 against.
The Initiative Measure 429, the Authorize Laws for Gambling at Racetracks Amendment, A yes vote supports amending the Nebraska Constitution to allow laws that authorize, regulate and tax gambling at licensed racetrack facilities in the state. Together, Initiatives 429, 430, and 431 would allow, authorize and regulate and tax gambling at licensed race tracks. A no vote opposes amending the Nebraska Constitution to allow laws that authorize, regulate and tax gambling at licensed racetrack facilities in the state, thus maintaining the state’s prohibition against gambling at racetracks. In Richardson County, 2,478 voted for it and 1,276 voted against it with 316 undervotes. Nebraska as a whole voted 570,502 for the measure and 308,062 voted against it.
The Initiative Measure 430, Authorizing Gambling at Racetracks Initiative, a yes vote supports enacting a law that authorizes gambling operations within licensed racetracks and establishes that Nebraska Gambling Commission to regulate gambling operations. Initiatives 429, 430, and 431 would allow, authorize, and regulate tax gambling at licensed race tracks. A no vote opposes enacting a law that authorizes gambling operations within licensed racetracks and establishes the Nebraska Gaming. Commission to regulate gambling operations. In Richardson County, 2,483 voted for it and 1,291 voted agast it with 296 undervotes. In Nebraska 572, 890 voted for the measure and 309,929 voted against it.
On Nebraska Initiative 431, the Tax on Gambling at Racetracks Initiative, a yes vote supports imposing an annual tax of 20% on gross gambling revenue of licensed gaming operators; distributing 2.5% of tax revenue to the Compulsive Gamblers Assistance Fund, 2.5% to the General Fund, 70% to the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund, and 25% to the counties where gambling is authorized at licensed racetracks. Together, Initiatives 429, 430, and 431 would allow, authorize and regulate, and tax gambling at licensed racetracks. A “no” vote opposes imposing an annual tax of 20% on gross gambling revenue of licensed gaming operators. Richardson County voters voted 2,580 for the measure and 1,171 against. Nebraska voted 602,309 for and 275,306 against the measure.
Richardson County had an impressive turnout for voting this year, with 73.06 percent turning out. With 5,572 registered voters in the county, 4,071 voted; 2,411 voted on election day and 1,660 voted early.
Overvote: An overvote occurs when one vote for more than the maximum number of selections allowed in a contest
Undervote: An undervote occurs when the number of choices selected by a voter in a contest is less than the maximum number allowed for that contest or when no selection is made for a single choice contest.
Final totals will be published in the Falls City Journal.