Voting rights restored! LB20 passes into law

Following the passage of LB20, which removes the extra two-year waiting period for Nebraskans who have completed a felony sentence to vote, Nebraska’s Voting Rights Restoration Coalition issued the following statement.

“Today, Nebraska took a significant step toward a more just, inclusive, and participatory democracy. By restoring voting rights to Nebraskans immediately after they have completed felony sentences, our elected leaders have upheld the fundamental principle of redemption by recognizing every person’s inherent dignity and worth, regardless of past mistakes. Nebraskans believe in second chances, and that’s what this bill is all about.
“Restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions is a reaffirmation of their return as full members of our society. By removing this antiquated barrier for these Nebraskans, we build a sense of belonging and civic engagement essential for a truly participatory democracy. And we move closer to a system that prioritizes rehabilitation over retribution and recognizes the potential for positive change in everyone.
“Thank you to our state legislators for overwhelmingly passing LB20. We sincerely thank State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, who has been a steadfast champion of this effort during his service at the Legislature, and State Sen. Jane Raybould of Lincoln, who made this her 2024 priority bill at the statehouse.
“Today is a great day for fairness in Nebraska. We encourage Nebraskans whose voting rights will be restored in time for November’s general election to go to for more information.”

Statements from coalition members

Jasmine Harris, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, RISE:

“With the passing of LB20, Nebraska has taken a step in the right direction to help people with felony convictions feel like they are a part of their communities. This helps reinforce the positive changes many people have made in their lives. Eliminating the two-year waiting period for the restoration of voting rights bolsters positive social engagement which is one of the keys to reentry well-being. We look forward to assisting people with regaining their voice at the ballot box.”

Adam Morfeld, Executive Director, Civic Nebraska:

“We’re especially grateful to the senators who kept an open mind about this policy and, throughout their service, changed their position in favor of honoring Nebraskans’ fundamental civil rights. The bipartisan support of this bill is a testament to our unicameral Legislature’s capacity to evolve on issues and its commitment to making elections fair and accessible.”

Jason Witmer, ACLU of Nebraska:

“We would like to thank our state senators for removing this arbitrary barrier to voting. It acknowledges the essence of our democracy – that every voice matters. LB20 recognizes the inherent dignity of every individual, affirming that those who have paid their debt to society should not face additional barriers to exercising their civil rights. By restoring their voting rights upon completion of probation or parole, we affirm our belief in redemption and second chances.”

Brad Christian-Sallis, Nebraska Civic Engagement Table:

“Our democracy is at its best when the people have the power to make their voices heard. The passage of LB20 will finally give thousands of Nebraskans back their most fundamental right, the right to vote. We applaud the countless community members who worked tirelessly for years to build awareness and the senators who voted to eliminate the two-year waiting period. We look forward to continuing our work as part of the Voting Rights Restoration Coalition to ensure that all people impacted by the passage of this bill have the information and resources they need to vote in future elections.”

Demetrius Gatson, Q.U.E.E.N.S. Butterfly House:

“While I applaud the passage of LB20, there are thousands of justice-impacted residents who are still unable to vote. For the people I work with who are eligible, registering to vote provides a sense of acceptance, especially when there are so many barriers to housing and employment. We must remember democracy doesn’t work without everyone.” 

Members of the Nebraska Voting Rights Restoration Coalition

ACLU of Nebraska | Black and Pink | Black Men United | Black Votes Matter | Bridges to Hope |  Civic Nebraska | Common Cause Nebraska | Community Justice Center | Heart Ministry Center | Inclusive Communities | Intertribal Spiritual Lodges | JustUs15Vote | Las Voces | League of Women Voters of Nebraska | Mental Health Association of Nebraska | NAACP |  Nebraska Appleseed | Nebraska Civic Engagement Table | Nebraskans for Peace | Nebraskans United Unafraid | New Life Family Alliance | Omaha Alternatives to Violence Project | Q.U.E.E.N.S. Butterfly | Rank the Vote Nebraska | RAN Racial Justice Policy group | ReConnect Inc. | Reentry Alliance of Nebraska Board | Represent Us Omaha | RISE | Stand in For Nebraska | The Sentencing Project | Together Inc.

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