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Analysis: New Wisconsin Voter ID Rules Expose Law's Real Aim
08/29/16 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, August 29, 2016 - 17:15
Excerpt: 

A federal appeals court on Friday offered what some described as a compromise over Wisconsin's strict voter ID law. But a closer look suggests the new rules will still keep eligible voters from the polls, maintaining a barrier to voting in a crucial presidential swing state this fall.  ...

[T[he law still unquestionably adds a hurdle to the voting process. Walking into a DMV office and requesting an ID may not sound like a lot to ask of a would-be voter, and for many it's not. But the law's opponents say requiring a trip to the DMV will nonetheless end up keeping some people from the polls, especially in more marginalized communities. An estimated 300,000 registered Wisconsin voters lack an acceptable form of ID under the law, a court found.

One reason is access. According to a 2014 brief filed by opponents of the law, just three of Wisconsin's 92 DMV offices are open after 5pm, and just two are open on weekends, making it difficult for many working people to get there. Over half operate just two days per week. One, in rural Sauk City, is open just three days a year.

Ahead of Wisconsin's April primary, MSNBC spoke to one Madison high school senior who needed to make an hour-and-a-half round trip by bus to get an ID at the nearest DMV. He succeeded only after getting help from an organizer with a group that works to get voter IDs to those who need them. 

A Nonprofit Response to Democracy’s Challenge
08/28/16 |
Publication Date: 
Sunday, August 28, 2016 - 01:45
Excerpt: 

[E]ven the most voter friendly states have very substantial gaps in voter participation between high- and low-income, young and old, and across the lines of race. That’s because voter-friendly policies may make voting “possible,” but they don’t really do anything to make voting “probable.” ...

[P]articipation gaps in large part reflect mobilization gaps—gaps between who is personally contacted about voting and who isn’t. ...

This is where nonprofits can make a big difference. ...

[O]nce contacted by nonprofit staff and volunteers about voting, these prospective voters turned out at higher rates than other registered voters across all demographic groupings. These increases were largest among those least likely to vote. We reach the right people, and when we engage them, we can make a big difference.

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Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

Nebraska Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

  • Mail-In Voter Registration Deadline: October 21
  • In-Person Voter Registration Deadline: October 28
  • Early Voting Dates: October 9 - November 8

For more information, visit the Secretary of State's Elections website.

Please note that the information in the sections below has not been updated, and refers to the 2015 general election.


When You Can Vote

8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Central Time and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mountain Time.

Early Voting

 Ballots received by mail must arrive, by mail or hand delivery, at the elections office by the closing of the polls on Election Day (8 p.m. Central Time/7 p.m. Mountain Time).

How to Find Your Polling Place

Check online using the State of Nebraska's Voter Check tool.

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE

Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.


Registration Deadlines

Voter registration forms (download online here) must be postmarked on or before the 3rd Friday before the election.  This is also the last day for registering through a motor vehicles office or state agency.  You may register in person at the County Clerk/Election Commissioner’s office before 6 p.m. on the 2nd Friday before the election.  Click here for a list of contact information for County Clerk/Election Commissioners’ offices.

How to Check if You Are Registered

You can check your voter registration status here.

How to Register

You may register to vote by:

  • Filling out a form in person at your local County Clerk/Election Commissioner’s Office;
  • Sending in your application by mail  - you can print off a voter registration application, fill it out, sign it, and send it in; or
  • You may also register at the Department of Motor Vehicles when you apply for or renew your driver’s license.  Voter registration may be available at other agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of State.

See Nebraska’s Secretary of State website for more information.

Registration Eligibility

To register to vote in Nebraska you must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen;
  • Live in Nebraska;
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November;
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, or if convicted, at least two years have passed since the completion of your sentence for the felony including any parole term; and
  • Have not been officially found to be mentally incompetent.

Identification Required for Registration

You will need either a current and valid photo ID, or a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document which is dated within 60 days immediately prior to the date of presentation showing the same name and residence address provided on the voter registration application.

If you mail in your registration, you should include a copy of one of these.  If you do not, you will have to show one of these documents at the polls on Election Day.

If You Want to Vote Early & Absentee

Any voter may apply for an early voting ballot (formerly called Absentee ballot in Nebraska).

Any voter is eligible to apply for an Early Voting (sometimes called Absentee) ballot.  Under state law, you do not need to give a reason when you apply for the ballot.

You can get an Early Voting Ballot by:

Rules and Deadlines:

  • You can request an early voting ballot be mailed to you any time in the 120 days before an election, up to the Wednesday before the election at 4 p.m. 
  • Ballots will be sent out beginning 35 days before the election.  You can vote in person at your clerk's office 30 days before Election Day.
  • The Monday before Election Day is the last day to cast an early voting ballot in person at your County Election Office.
  • All early voting ballots must be received, by mail or hand delivery, by the elections office by the closing of the polls on Election Day (8 p.m. Central Time/7 p.m. Mountain Time). 

Identification Requirements to Register to Vote

You will need either a current and valid photo ID, or a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document which is dated within 60 days immediately prior to the date of presentation showing the same name and residence address provided on the voter registration application.

If you mail in your ballot, you should include a copy of one of these.  If you do not, you will have to show one of these documents at the polls on Election Day.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

If you registered by mail, did not enclose any ID with your registration, and are a first-time Nebraska registrant, you will need either a current and valid photo ID, or a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document which is dated within 60 days immediately prior to the date of presentation showing the same name and residence address provided on the voter registration application.

Otherwise, no ID is required.

Registered voters who moved from one residence to another in the same county, or who changed their name and remained in the same county will be allowed to vote at the polling place designated for their new residence.  These voters may be asked to cast a Provisional Ballot upon completing a certification and new registration form.  Persons casting Provisional Ballots may check to see if their ballot was counted starting the second Wednesday after the election by visiting this site or calling toll free 1-888-727-0007.  Provisional Ballots are counted only if the information the voter provided on their certification forms was verified.

Persons moving from one county in Nebraska to another county in Nebraska must re-register in their new county in order to be eligible to vote.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) Nebraska-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email.  If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA.  Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's Nebraska-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned that they will not receive their ballot before the 8:00 p.m. (CT)/7:00 p.m. (MT), Election Day deadline.  The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write-in their choices.  In Nebraska, the FWAB may be used to register to vote and as a voted ballot, all in one step.  If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline.  For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Nebraska-specific FWAB page.

Convicted felons are not eligible to vote in Nebraska until two years after the completion of their sentence (including parole, but not probation).  Individuals convicted of treason are not allowed to vote, unless their civil rights are restored.

**The materials below have not been updated since 2014**

FAQ

Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, visit the National Disability Rights Network’s voting resource center.

For more information for student voters, visit the Nebraska Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

2016 Election Information for your state