Civic Nebraska applauds state making vote-by-mail more accessible in 2020

Providing every Nebraska voter with a request for a mail-in ballot is the right decision for Nebraska and it’s great news for democracy.

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Secretary of State Robert Evnen has confirmed that all registered Nebraska voters will receive a request form for an early mail-in ballot for the Nov. 3 general election. Civic Nebraska applauded the move, which will provide a safe and secure general election while protecting Nebraskans’ health.

Already, the state’s three largest counties – Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy – are sending or preparing to send vote-by-mail request forms to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Wednesday, Evnen said his office would distribute vote-by-mail request forms to registered voters in counties that had not yet determined whether or not to do so.

Director of Voting Rights John Cartier

This is a repeat of the effective process from this spring, when Nebraska counties and Evnen’s office worked together to provide every registered voter with the opportunity to request a vote-by-mail ballot. The result: Eight in 10 Nebraskans chose to cast their ballot by mail and shattered a 48-year-old voter participation record.

“This is excellent news for voters. It’s the right decision for Nebraska and it’s great for democracy,” said John Cartier, Civic Nebraska’s director of voting rights. “As our state’s successful primary showed, voting by mail is safe, convenient and secure, and it gives voters time to carefully consider their ballots.”

Cartier was careful to emphasize that state officials would not be sending the ballots themselves to voters, only the forms to request a mail-in ballot. Civic Nebraska will focus its statewide resources on emphasizing what voters will need to do to get those actual ballots. Civic Nebraska’s Election Central 2000 site features a host of election resources and information.

Nebraska’s record for general election participation was in 2016, when 860,573 ballots were cast. At the time, the state had just more than 1.2 million registered voters. With vote-by-mail becoming more readily available to Nebraskans for the November election, that record is well within reach, Cartier said.

“As we continue to navigate the pandemic, this is a wise decision by our state leaders. Our elections must be secure and accessible, and as we’ve seen, vote-by-mail is more than up to the task,” he said.

Civic Nebraska has advocated for expanding vote-by-mail to all 93 Nebraska counties. It was among 14 organizations that signed on to a letter to the Secretary of State asking the office to supply request forms to all registered voters in 2020. It also has supported Nebraskans in securing their mail-in ballot at www.civicnebraska.vote.

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