LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – On Tuesday, the ACLU of Nebraska launched a first-of-its-kind, statewide voter education campaign by mailing more than 3,700 pamphlets, voter registration forms, and early voting request forms to Nebraska’s county jails.
Officials said the campaign is targeted at Nebraskans impacted by the criminal justice system and is inspired by frequent voting rights concerns and questions received by the ACLU.
The new “Know Your Rights” pamphlet is a key element of the campaign.
The pamphlet includes:
- Voter eligibility requirements
- Step-by-step guide to voting in jail
- Glossary of important terms
- Common questions about voting rights for Nebraskans with criminal justice system involvement including the rights of Nebraskans presumed innocent yet detained pretrial as well as those convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.
Officials mention the pamphlet also clearly explains Nebraska’s arbitrary two-year waiting period for people with felony convictions, a source of frequent questions and confusion.
Rose Godinez, legal and policy counsel at the ACLU of Nebraska, said the goal is to provide clarity to Nebraska voters, corrections officials, and election officials so that every eligible voter can have a say.
Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, yet far too many Nebraskans have been disenfranchised due to criminal system involvement – both directly by Nebraska law and indirectly by the confusion and chaos surrounding application of this law. The ACLU frequently hears that Nebraskans who are presently or formerly incarcerated face barriers when they try to learn about and exercise their voting rights.From Rose Godinez, legal and policy counsel at the ACLU of Nebraska
Godinez mentions those barriers disproportionately harm low-income Nebraskans and Nebraskans of color.
“Proactive educational efforts are vitally important because our democracy works best when all eligible voters can participate in the process,” said Godinez.
The pamphlet is available online and has been shared with voting rights and civic engagement groups across Nebraska.