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And now for a little ‘mood voting’ on Election Day in central Omaha

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And now for a little ‘mood voting’ on Election Day in central Omaha

May 14, 2024 | 12:43 pm ET
By Aaron Sanderford Cindy Gonzalez
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And now for a little ‘mood voting’ on Election Day in central Omaha
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Neither rain nor snow — or at least not a power failure — could stop these poll workers from their appointed rounds Tuesday at a central Omaha polling place. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

OMAHA — A power outage in central Omaha on Tuesday morning offered some Nebraska voters a “romantic” setting of sorts as they cast their ballot on Election Day. 

And now for a little ‘mood voting’ on Election Day in central Omaha
“I voted in the dark” stickers weren’t available at this central Omaha polling place. but voters were doing just that for a while during a morning power failure. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

At least two polling places were without light and power for less than two hours. Omaha Public Power District officials said power was restored around 10:30 a.m.

One, at Lifegate Church near 55th and Leavenworth Streets, seemed to have sufficient natural lighting, but the other, St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church at about 60th and Center Streets, had voting booths in the basement and needed a bit of intervention from the Douglas County Election Commissioner’s Office.

Brian Kruse, county election commissioner, said his office sent a runner to the location with several lanterns that helped light pathways to voting booths. 

People were using flashlights on their cell phones. The facility also had some flashlights. 

“That’s a first for me,” Kruse said of the incident. 

And now for a little ‘mood voting’ on Election Day in central Omaha
The county election commissioner’s staff delivered lanterns to a central Omaha polling place Tuesday morning when the lights went out. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

OPPD said fewer than 1,000 customers were without power after a private construction crew hit an underground power line near 48th and Leavenworth Streets. No one on the crew was injured.

The area affected was between Dodge and Center Streets, from 60th to 48th Streets, plus University Drive North and Pacific Street from University Drive West to 46th Avenue.

Nebraska Examiner’s Aaron Sanderford was among the voters that marked their ballot in the dark during the power outage.

“Me and some of my neighbors got to vote like it was the 1800s,” he said.

One voter called the lighting “romantic.” Another called it “mood voting.”

Meanwhile, Tuesday marked the first election that, under a new state law, workers checked identification of voters. Kruse said all seemed to be going smoothly on that front so far, with no voter complaints as of midday.