The following was adapted from an email newsletter by Brad Christian-Sallis, Voting Rights Policy Organizer with Civic Nebraska, and reprinted with permission. Become a Voting Rights Advocate through Civic Nebraska to get the latest training, information and calls to action.
Jan. 23 was the final day of the 10-day bill introduction period for the 106th Nebraska Legislature. We are pleased to note that for the first time in nearly 10 years, senators will not spend time debating the merits of an introduced voter ID bill.
This is obviously great news, mainly because it means no unnecessary barriers to the ballot in 2019. It also means we will be able to focus our energy on positive, pro-voter policies at the statehouse.
One of these pro-voter policies is LB83, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne. This bill would immediately restore voting rights for Nebraskans upon completion of a felony sentence or probation for a felony. When thinking about this issue it is important to remember:
- Our current waiting period of two years was a compromise, and the length of “wait time” is arbitrary.
- Returning citizens are no less qualified than anyone else to vote. Remember, they were found competent to stand trial. We must consider them competent to vote.
- Studies show that voting leads to a feeling of engagement in one’s community. Returning citizens, then, are less likely to re-offend.
- Nebraska has one of the most restrictive felon re-enfranchisement laws in the country. We are one of just five states to disenfranchise all citizens with a felony conviction beyond their sentence. To bring the state in line with the vast majority of the rest of the country, we should let people vote when they have served their time, including probation and parole.
Advocate for LB83
Please take five minutes today to contact your state senator and explain to them the importance of LB83! Once you speak with your senator, we please ask that you record your response here.
Here is an example script you can use when contacting your elected officials for any issue:
My name is_________. I’m a constituent of Senator ________ and I wanted to call/write/email and urge the Senator to stand up for Nebraskans and our voices by supporting LB83. I believe returning citizen re-enfranchisement is a good policy because
(Pick one or two messages from above or another reason you are for LB83.)
Please let the senator know LB83 would be good for their constituents and the entire state of Nebraska. Thank you.
Voting Rights Advocate recruitment and training
Let us know if you have an opportunity for Team Voting Rights to present to a group our advocacy training — or, if you know of anyone who is interested in voting rights, forward this email to them and encourage them to become a Voting Rights Advocate.
If you are not already a Voting Rights Advocate or have yet to update your information with Civic Nebraska, please go to this link.