People receive "I Voted Today" stickers after casting their vote at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Omaha on Tuesday

In the iPhone age, cellphones are allowed inside polling places in Nebraska.

But Election Day brought conflicting messages in Douglas County on what’s appropriate for voters and how poll workers should respond.

Cellphone use became an issue Tuesday morning after a complaint that a voter in northwest Omaha was told she would not be allowed to vote if she was using a cellphone. That took place at the polling place at Emmanuel Fellowship at 83rd Street and Crown Point Avenue.

Outside the polling place, a sign with images crossed out warned: No cell phones / No smoking / No concealed weapons.

World-Herald reporters saw the same signs outside several other Douglas County polling places.

This story started as a tip from ProPublica's Electionland project, which monitors voting problems around the country. You can report a voting problem by clicking here.

The Douglas County Election Commissioner’s Office got the same complaint about the Emmanuel Fellowship polling place.

At Emmanuel Fellowship, two poll workers said they were told during training that people shouldn’t use cellphones in the voting area — although outside in the hall was OK.

But Valerie Stoj, a spokeswoman for the office, said cellphone use is allowed at polling places. She said voters at a polling place sometimes call the election office to ask questions or use their phone to view a sample ballot or look up information on a candidate.

Using a cellphone, Stoj said, can be just like looking at a voter guide.

Nebraska state law also allows voters to take ballot selfies and post them to social media.

The office discourages people from having a conversation in the polling place, she said.

Stoj said the "No cell phones” signs were old, inadvertently got mixed in with the material sent out to some polling places and were posted in error. They should have read: "No cell phone conversations".

But with high voting keeping election staff and poll workers busy, Stoj said the office would not be replacing the old signs today.

In Sarpy County, two polling places observed by World-Herald reporters advised voters to simply silence their cellphones.

World-Herald staff writers Katy Glover and Chris Peters contributed to this report.

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Reporter - Education

Erin is an enterprise reporter for the World-Herald. Previously, Erin covered education. Follow her on Twitter @eduff88. Phone: 402-444-1210.

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