Mail-in ballots economical, but fail to build community

A small county in Nebraska is voting by mail to reduce voting costs, but some miss Election Day camaraderie.

Mail voting often reduces costs and improves voter turnout, but residents of some rural
communities say their sense of community is dwindling
with the removal of in-person polling locations.

Residents of Cherry County, Neb., which at 100 miles wide is the
state’s geographically largest county, miss election days when neighbors
gathered to vote.

“You did more than just vote. You sat and visited with people,” said
rancher Paul Young, adding it wasn’t uncommon for cake, pie and coffee
to be served at the school polling place that closed seven years

Tom Elliott, the county’s election commissioner, agreed, but says
the switch is an economically better way to run elections. The switch to vote-by-mail has allowed the county to trim 121 Election Day employees.
“We all enjoyed that traditional aspect of going to the polling
place,” Elliott said, adding that the conclusion was foregone.

By Emily Nohr, News21