Kruse shares 2024 election preparations in U.S. Senate hearing

In a U.S. Senate hearing on March 12, Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian W. Kruse shared his office’s preparations for the 2024 elections and the features that make Nebraska a gold standard for election administration. Kruse testified before the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee at the invitation of U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) and was one of five election experts to speak.

Douglas Co. Election Commissioner Brian W. Kruse

“Our office prepares for each election cycle by reviewing and updating procedures for each department to ensure that each voter registration, candidate filing, early voting request, ballot, or petition signature is processed according to state statutes and using consistent rules,” Kruse said.

“Early voting by mail can be a secure and accurate method of voting if administered properly,” he testified. “For polling place elections, Nebraska law requires voters who choose to vote by mail to request an early voting ballot before each election as ballots cannot be automatically sent.  Signatures and now voter ID requirements are checked at the time each request is processed. If these requirements are not met, a ballot is not sent. Upon ballots being returned, signatures are checked again.”

Kruse said dropboxes in Douglas County are secure, under 24/7 surveillance cameras, and emptied each weekday by two individuals of differing parties. He encouraged voters to use one of the county’s 13 drop boxe as “the most direct way to return election mail. There are no third parties involved.”  On average, Kruse testified, 77 percent of all early mail-in ballots are returned via dropbox.

Kruse expressed gratitude for a positive relationship between the Douglas County Election Commission and local media to assist in disseminating accurate and timely information to voters, especially with the implementation of voter ID in 2024.

Nebraska is the only state that allows poll workers to be drafted, similar to jury duty, Kruse testified. Some advantages to drafting poll workers are increased community awareness of the election process, less difficulty in securing election workers, and a younger workforce with an average age in the mid-50s while the majority of poll workers nationwide are over 60.

“It is my privilege to serve the voters of Douglas County and an honor to be here representing the 93 county election officials in Nebraska who work diligently to conduct accurate elections,” Kruse said in conclusion. “I encourage all citizens from coast to coast to go and have your voices heard on Election Day.”

This story appears courtesy of the Douglas County Election Commission.