Civic Nebraska @ the Statehouse: 2020 preview

Here's what we have our eyes on during this year’s “short session" of the Nebraska Legislature.

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The 2020 session of the Nebraska Legislature begins Jan. 8, and as always, Civic Nebraska will be at the State Capitol every day to advocate for pro-voter measures. Throughout this year’s “short session” – set to adjourn in April – we’ll update you on pro-voter legislation, issues, and opportunities for you to engage with state senators. Sign up to be a Voting Rights Advocate to get regular updates in your inbox.

For starters, here’s what we have our eyes on this session:

Voter ID. After a one-year respite, we anticipate new voter ID legislation to be introduced. We maintain voter ID is a costly and ineffective measure in search of a problem that doesn’t exist, and oppose adding additional barriers to the ballot. Voter ID laws unfairly target rural seniors and those with disabilities and will disenfranchise voters.

Westin Miller, director of public policy for Civic Nebraska.

Article V Constitutional Convention. We oppose a measure calling for Nebraska to join an Article V Convention of States to amend the U.S. Constitution. You may remember our video from 2017 outlining changes proponents might like to see. This includes eliminating federal departments of energy and education, taking the election of U.S. senators out of voters’ hands, and shackling state federal aid, which would critically damage our schools, infrastructure, and health services. 

Elected election commissioners. In 2019 Civic Nebraska began pushing for a legal resolution to constitutionally questionable state laws that allow the appointment of election commissioners in Nebraska’s most populous counties. Here’s a timeline of the cases that have emerged from this ongoing issue. As the courts consider them, lawmakers are expected to consider legislative remedies to this long-standing constitutional issue. We support this process and will be actively participating in it.

Vote-By-Mail. We support a bill that was introduced in 2019 during the 106th Legislature’s first session that would give counties of all sizes equal access to tools like voting by mail, which counties in greater Nebraska are already using to save money and increase turnout. 

Election observers. Senators may consider a measure to define what constitutes someone who is acting in an official election-observer capacity. As Nebraska’s leading organizer of election protection and observation advocates, Civic Nebraska supports legislation that would protect this important work.

Redistricting. We support new legislation that would require fair (non-gerrymandered) maps during the upcoming redistricting process in 2021.

Nonpartisan elections. We anticipate supporting a measure that would make all statewide elections in Nebraska nonpartisan, including elections of Nebraska’s executive branch. 

Be sure to stay up to date with the Legislature’s daily business, and also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news and views on issues that matter to you. We know you take your role as our unicameral’s “Second House” seriously, and we look forward to working alongside you to create a more modern and robust democracy for all Nebraskans.

Thanks for all that you do,

Westin Miller
Director of Public Policy
Civic Nebraska 

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