Guide to Voting by Mail in Douglas County

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, voting by mail is more important than ever for the May 12 primary election. Voting by mail is always an option in Nebraska elections, but this year, it’s an even better option as it can help protect yourself and others during this outbreak. LWVGO is working to especially promote voting by mail as a way to safely continue to participate in democracy and make sure your voice is heard in this important vote.

The county election commissions of Sarpy and Douglas counties have agreed to send postcards to registered voters. In the coming weeks, they will sending postcards to registered voters’ mailing addresses to encourage them to join the early/vote-by-mail list.

  • Voters already on the permanent early vote list will get a postcard.
  • Registered voters not already on the permanent or 2020 election early vote/vote-by-mail lists will get a postcard.

You must return the postcard to get on the early/vote-by-mail list. Send it back to the election commission at the address on the postcard (stamp required). Then the election commission will start sending out ballots on April 6.

Return the ballot by mail OR dropbox by May 8 to meet the election deadline of May 12.

If You Don’t Receive a Postcard, or If You’d Like to Get on the Vote By Mail List Today

You don’t have to wait for the postcard — registered voters (of all parties, including nonpartisan voters) can request a mail-in ballot for any reason.

The following is a guide to voting by mail in the May 12. 2020 statewide primary for voters in Douglas County, Nebraska. Make sure your voice is heard in this important election! And please share this information to your network of friends and neighbors.

Here are the general steps to voting by mail:

  1. Register to vote/make sure you’re registered. (Can be done online.)
  2. Request a mail-in ballot from the Douglas County Election Commission. (Can be done via mail, fax, email or in-person drop-off.)
  3. Fill out your ballot.
  4. Return your ballot. (Can be done by mail, drop-off at an election commission dropbox, or in-person drop-off.)

Read on to learn more.

Register to Vote

To vote in the 2020 primary election, voters must be registered. Get registered as soon as possible — your registration will need to be valid before requesting a mail-in ballot.

Eligibility to Register to Vote

To register to vote in Nebraska, you must be:

  1. A resident of Nebraska;
  2. A U.S. citizen;
  3. At least 18 years old by the time of the November election (November 3, 2020);
  4. Without a felony conviction OR “off paper” for two years following the completion of a sentence for a felony conviction.

Voter Registration Deadlines for the 2020 Primary

To vote in the 2020 primary election, you must be registered by no later than April 27, 2020 if registering by mail, online, at a community agency, library, DMV office, at a community event by deputy registrar. May 1, 2020 at 6 p.m. is the cutoff for walk-in registration at the Douglas County Election Commission office, 12220 W Center Road, Omaha.

Registering to Vote Online

Nebraskans with a Nebraska driver’s licence or state ID can register to vote online. Do so here: nebraska.gov/apps-sos-voter-registration.

You can also use the online voter registration to change your party affiliation and update your address, if needed. (Remember to do this before the April 27 deadline.)

Check Your Registration

Validate your registration online by looking yourself up on the Nebraska voter view website: votercheck.necvr.ne.gov/VoterView/RegistrantSearch.do.

Registration FAQ

What if I am registered at my parents address, but I am away at college?

If you are registered at your parent’s home, you may request an early ballot to vote by mail. Or you can register at your college address.

What if I live in a shelter and want to vote?

You can register to vote with the address of the shelter where you live.

What if I am homeless and have no address?

You can register and use your Election Commission as your address.

What if I am in a County Jail and want to vote?

Register to vote with the address of the jail at this website. You will vote by requesting an early vote by mail ballot. Misdemeanors or time in jail do not make citizens ineligible to vote. A convicted ex-felon can vote 2 years after completion of the entire sentence including probation/parole and post release supervision.

Request a Mail-In Ballot

Any Douglas County voter who was registered prior to the voter registration deadline is eligible to request an early voting ballot, either by mail, in person, or by agent. Find out more on the Douglas County Election Commission website: votedouglascounty.com/early_voting.aspx.

Requesting By Mail

To submit your request by mail, fill in the request form mailed to you and return that, or fill in the online request form, download that, then mail that request back to the Douglas County Election Commission.

Add a standard stamp to an envelope with your request and address the envelop to:

Douglas County Election Commission

12220 W Center Road

Omaha, NE

68144

Requesting By Email

Fill in the online request form, download that, then mail that request back to the Douglas County Election Commission at earlyvoting@votedouglascounty.com.

Deadline to Request a Ballot

To vote by mail in the 2020 primary, you must have your request for a mail-in ballot back to the Douglas County Election Commission by no later than May 1, 2o20.

Receiving Your Ballot

The Douglas County Election Commission will begin mailing out ballots on April 6, 2020. Ballots will will go out in gold-colored envelops that look like this:

Filling Out Your Ballot

Fill out your ballot as you would at your polling place! You can get more information from the nonpartisan voter-information site vote411.org.

Important: When you’re ready to return your ballot, put it in the return envelope that was mailed to you with the ballot. Seal the envelope and then make sure you sign the back. The vote will only be counted if the envelope is signed on the line at the bottom:

Return Your Ballot

You can return your completed ballot in its signed and sealed envelope to the Douglas County Election Commission office by mail, in person or by dropping it off at one of the dropbox locations.

Find the dropbox locations in the map below, or on the Election Commission website.

If dropping off, you don’t need a stamp.

Check Your Mail-In Ballot Status

You can check the status of your mail-in ballot on the voter check website: votercheck.necvr.ne.gov/VoterView/AbsenteeBallotSearch.do.

Conclusion

Make sure your voice is heard and vote no matter what — consider voting by mail this election! For more information, contact the Election Commission at 402-444-8683.

Action Alert: LB 1207 Redistricting Reform Bill

LB 1207 REDISTRICTING REFORM BILL TO BE DEBATED SOON! WRITE/CALL/EMAIL YOUR STATE SENATORS 

Hey, we need some help. As you may know, LWV-NE’s Redistricting Committee has been urging the Executive Committee to bring Senator John McCollister’s redistricting bill, LB 1207, to the floor for debate. A couple of weeks ago, we learned that wasn’t likely. Consequently, in an attempt to effect redistricting reform, we turned our attention to a petition drive to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. The proposed amendment would support an independent commission of nine members to decide district lines. 

All that said, things changed late in the week when several civic organizations formed a new coalition. On March 5, that coalition, Nebraskans for Independent Redistricting (NIR), announced the petition drive to eliminate political gerrymandering in Nebraska. (More info.)

Nebraska’s constitution designates that the responsibility of drawing district lines is the duty of the legislature, so creating an independent commission would require an amendment to make that possible. (As this process goes forward, LWV-NE will be participating in meetings the week of March 9 to define our role in the petition process.) 

Shortly after the NIR’s announcement, an article appeared in the March 7th Lincoln Star Journal announcing that, surprisingly, Senator McCollister’s LB 1207 would be debated on the floor of the legislature. This bill would give lawmakers a chance to achieve redistricting reform as well as maintain control over drawing district lines as the constitution specifies. 

Voting to advance the bill with Sen. McCollister were Omaha Senators Ernie Chambers and Tony Vargas, Lincoln Sen. Kate Bolz and Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward. Opposing the bill were Speaker Jim Scheer, Lincoln Sen. Mike Hilgers, and Sens. John Lowe of Kearney and Dan Hughes of Venango. (More info.)

So here we are – hoping to accomplish real reform one way or another. Please email, call or write your senator and urge support of LB 1207. Find your senator’s phone number and.or email address on the Unicameral website. Thanks! 

Why Redistricting Reform? Check out fairmapsne.org to learn more about redistricting and gerrymandering topics! 

  • Gerrymandering is undemocratic and goes against Nebraska’s traditions of nonpartisanship and fair play. 
  • When districts are gerrymandered, our elected representatives have been allowed to choose their voters instead of the voters choosing them. 
  • When Nebraskans are included in the process of drawing new election district maps, their fundamental right to choose who represents them is preserved. Voters feel like their vote makes a difference. 
  • When maps are drawn without political bias they represent minority groups more fairly. 

Action Alert: Contact Your Senator to Urge Support of LB1207

Redistricting bill LB1207 will go to the full Unicameral for debate. Read more at the Lincoln Journal-Star website.

LWVGO supports LB1207, the Redistricting Act, and urges all members to contact your state senator to urge them to vote for it. Find your senator’s contact information on the Unicameral website.

Preparing for the 2020 Census in Nebraska

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, Terri Crawford, Host and Member of the League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha, speaks with Julia Tse, Policy Coordinator for Voices for Our Children and Brad Christian-Sallis, Voting Rights Field Director at Civic Nebraska, about the 2020 Census.

For more information, see the US Census Bureau website, Civic Nebraska’s website and Voices for Children in Nebraska.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or CenturyLink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube. You can also listen to these episodes as podcasts on Podbean.

Learn More About Election Equipment and Processes in Douglas & Sarpy Counties

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, host Geri Simon speaks with Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse and Sarpy County Election Commissioner Michelle Andahl about voting equipment, updates, and general voter information.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or CenturyLink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube.

Learn About the Effort to Restore Voting Rights to Nebraskans with Felony Convictions

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, Krystal Fox, LWVGO Co-President, speaks with Nebraska State Senator Justin Wayne (Omaha, LD 13) and Brad Christian-Sallis, Voting Rights Policy Organizer for Civic Nebraska, about Sen. Wayne’s bill LB 83. LB 83 would provide for the restoration of voting rights upon completion of a felony sentence or probation of a felony. The bill was heard in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on March 6, 2019.

Contact Sen. Justin Wayne at jwayne@leg.ne.gov or 402-471-2727.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or CenturyLink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube. You can also listen to these episodes as podcasts on Podbean.


League of Women Voters Urges Support for HR4

March 21, 2019

TO:               Members of the U.S. House
FROM:         Chris Carson, President
RE:               Support the Voting Rights Advancement Act, H.R. 4

The League of Women Voters strongly urges you to support and pass HR4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, to modernize and repair the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

The legislation responds directly and responsibly to the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder and subsequent decisions by state and local jurisdictions to implement discriminatory practices connected to our elections. This legislation will update the coverage formula for preclearance to ensure it is based on contemporary acts of discrimination and provide mechanisms to prevent discrimination in voting nationwide.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) outlawed racial discrimination in voting and established procedures to protect equal access to the vote for every American citizen. But in 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the key provision of the VRA that triggered careful review of voting changes in political jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting before they could take effect. Since that decision, politicians in states, counties, cities, and towns across the country have passed laws and adopted practices that discriminate against voters of color and language minorities — making it harder for them to register and more difficult to vote and has shown the continued need for these protections.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act would accomplish three major goals:

1)    It re-establishes preclearance coverage for states and localities with a pattern of discrimination in voting with a contemporary look back period.
2)    It provides preclearance nationwide for political subdivisions with substantial minority populations for a limited number of voting changes based upon evidence of historic discriminatory, such as changes to election methods, changes to the qualifications to vote, and deviant polling location consolidation.
3)    It provides for greater transparency and public notice for late-breaking voting changes just before an election, changes in polling resources, and use of demographic and electoral data. 

For decades, ensuring that all eligible Americans have equal access to the ballot is a long-standing value supported by all sectors of our country. It is a value that has united our nation for more than 50 years and is why the League of Women Voters urges you to support the Voting Rights Advancement Act.  

Urge Your Representative to Vote Yes on HR1 This Week

Voters across the country voted for democracy reform up and down the ballot in 2018, sending the 116th Congress a clear message that the country is ready for bold, comprehensive democracy reforms.

And now, HR1, the For The People Act is on the verge of passing the House of Representatives – THIS WEEK the House will vote on this historic piece of legislation.

Call your Representative TODAY through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to vote to pass H.R. 1 – the  “For The People” Act.

HR1 is the biggest democracy reform agenda many of us have seen since the Voting Rights Act. This bill will revamp our voting system, implement fair redistricting, and crack down on dark money in elections so that voters have a stronger voice at the ballot box.

We must get this bold, transformative set of reforms to strengthen our democracy and return political power to the people over the finish line but we cannot do it without your help!

Call your Representative TODAY through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to commit to vote YES on  H.R. 1.