Sarpy County voters are turning out in droves for Tuesday's primary election, in a manner of speaking, by sending in a record number of mail-in ballots.

Election Commissioner Michelle Andahl said her office mailed out about 40,700 ballots, and as of Friday morning about 28,700 had been returned.

Andahl encouraged voters who hadn't yet returned their mail ballot to do so at a dropoff box because they may not arrived on time if mailed. Drop boxes are at 501 Olson Drive in the Jerzes Sports Bar Grill and Keno parking lot, 1248 Golden Gate Drive in Papillion at the main courthouse parking lot, 1003 Lincoln Road in Bellevue at the Bellevue Public Library and 215 Enterprise Drive in Gretna at McKinney's Food Center parking lot.

Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to return ballots to a return box.

Those who go to the polls Tuesday should practice social distancing and information will be posted at polling locations about how the process will work, Andahl said. They should also practice kindness and patience because there are new poll workers who are filling in for at-risk volunteers who were allowed to stay home.

They are "fellow neighbors" helping you vote, Andahl said.

The mail-in ballot numbers alone are a record for a primary election in Sarpy County, as the largest primary election turnout was 22,742 in 2016.

For another comparison, 8,098 voted by mail in the 2018 primary and 22,361 voted overall.

"We're really happy to see such high voter turnout compared to other primary elections," Andahl said.

Other recent primaries had 18,773 (2014) and 19,987 (2012) voters.

The Sarpy election office sent mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters in March in an effort to lessen lines at polling locations for people who were uncomfortable voting in person due to the coronavirus.

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