This year, the Nebraska Legislature will again consider whether voting rights should be restored to citizens who have completed the terms of their felony sentences. LB83, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne, is the same bill as 2017, which passed final reading 27-13-7 but was vetoed by Gov. Pete Ricketts.
Although that was an extremely disappointing conclusion — especially after all the hard work that Voting Rights Advocates put into its passage — we learned several valuable lessons that will help get us across the finish line this time.
There are many good reasons why LB83 represents the right policy decision:
- Nebraska’s current policy is one of the strictest in the country. It is only one of five states to disenfranchise all convicted felons beyond the length of their sentence, including probation and parole.
- There is no evidence that a two-year waiting period encourages good behavior. In fact, research shows that restricting the right to vote is considered by many experts to be a substantial barrier to successful rehabilitation.
LB83 will need all hands on deck. We need every Voting Rights Advocate activated on, and being as loud as possible about, this bill so we can secure the votes to override a gubernatorial veto if necessary.
The most powerful advocacy tool we have is our fellow Nebraskans who are disenfranchised by
Here is an example script you can use when contacting your elected officials:
My name is_________. I’m a constituent of Senator ________ and I wanted to call/write/email and urge the Senator to stand up for Nebraskans and our voices by supporting LB83. I believe allowing returning citizens to vote after they have served their debt to society is a good idea because
(Pick one or two messages from above or another reason you are for the legislation.)
Please let the senator know LB83 would be good for their constituents and for the entire state of Nebraska. Thank you.
Nebraska’s current policy is extreme. Reforming it will bring our state more in line with the rest of the nation while still maintaining a measured, moderate approach to criminal justice and voting rights. Let’s get this one done, Nebraska.
Director of Voting Rights
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