Can persons convicted of a felony vote in the state of Nebraska?
According to a recent ACLU Nebraska study, when asked this question earlier only half of Nebraska County election officials could provide accurate information. Since a law change in 2005, an ex-felon may register to vote two years after completing all terms of their sentence, when they are deemed “off-paper”. But it can be difficult to know what that means exactly. This is why Civic Nebraska is proud to introduce the Phoenix Project, a long-term civic education program designed to help ex felons navigate the ins and outs of their voting rights and empower these individuals to be their own advocate.
The Phoenix Project aims to assist ex-felons looking to reconnect with their community upon release and increase civic participation among this disenfranchised population. Civic Nebraska’s Community Organizer will help participants identify their timeline for eligibility to register to vote, provide education on their voting rights, and assist the individual in finding activities and programs that will allow them to be engaged in their community. And finally, once the two year waiting period is up, Civic Nebraska will help guide the individual through the voter registration process, ensuring that they don’t fall victim to misinformation and further disenfranchisement.
Civic Nebraska is dedicated to making our democracy robust and accessible to all – that can only happen when the pathway to voting and civic engagement is clear for all. Encouraging people from all walks of life to vote creates a diverse voting population, which will lead to a democracy that is collaborative, inclusive, and considerate of all who live in Nebraska. Our democracy is built on the premise that your vote is your voice and stripping an individual of their voice robs our democracy of its integrity.
Having a history does not make a person less deserving of representatives that listen to their issues and consider their interests and needs, nor does it make a person less passionate about controversial issues. If you are an ex-felon looking to become civically engaged and learn about your voting rights, sign up to participate in the Phoenix Project so that when others don’t know your rights, you do.
For more information, contact the Voting Rights Program or call Civic Nebraska at (402) 904-5191.