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For the first time in decades north Omaha can be proud of its voting. The turnout for north Omaha equaled the turnout for all Douglas County voters, that’s very good news. For years I and other voter participation advocates have been bemoaning the low turnout in North Omaha. I have written a book (Economic Cataracts), this column and the Black Votes Matter initiative all have been directed toward increasing the awareness and education needed for our community to get its voting house in order. The problem has been twofold: the raw low number of votes cast and maybe more important, the negative turnout gap. The Gap is the difference between north Omaha’s vote and the vote of all Douglas county voters and it has been consistently terrible. For example in 2008 with all the emotion and historic elements of the Obama presidential bid, north Omaha voted at respectable 62% turnout. However the rest of Douglas County voted at 72%. That was in fact a 10% negative gap for north Omaha. The negative gap has plague our voting for years. In 2004 the gap was 11%, 13% in 2012, and 14% in 2014.


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