Upon a felony conviction, most states only temporarily suspend voting rights, and the duration of the suspension varies from state to state. However, Nebraska is one of the few states to withhold voting rights beyond the completion of a sentence for a felony conviction. In Nebraska, people previously convicted of a felony must wait an additional two years past the completion of their sentence – including probation and parole – to vote.
While some argue that the waiting period gives people previously convicted of a felony a chance to prove that they are reformed, waiting periods like these can cause those with previous convictions to feel excluded from their communities and impact their ability to reintegrate into society. Both quantitative and qualitative evidence indicates that restoring voting rights encourages prosocial behavior and discourages recidivism. This is an important issue not only for the civic health of our state but also for public safety.
Nebraska’s above-and-beyond civic exile is unnecessary and unjustified. Allowing people to vote puts no one’s safety at risk, and may actually result in public safety benefits. Civic Nebraska supports pending legislation in the Nebraska Legislature to reform our state’s outdated and overly punitive laws on this matter. For more information, visit https://www.civicnebraska.org/restoreyourvote.