Strengthening Democracy Awards: Defenders of Democracy

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Jan Gradwohl and Milo Mumgaard at Civic Nebraska headquarters, Election Day 2014
Jan Gradwohl and Milo Mumgaard at Civic Nebraska headquarters, Election Day 2014

As laws concerning elections are proposed in the legislature, confusion can mount among voters on what laws and rules apply to them. Civic Nebraska’s Election Protection program ensures non-partisan election observers are positioned at polling locations across Nebraska to protect individual voting rights, and collect critical data on elections to make the case for policy change in Nebraska. For the last three years, two dedicated voting rights advocates and lawyers, Jan Gradwohl and Milo Mumgaard, have run the entire operation on Election Day from Civic Nebraska Headquarters.

Typically very few issues arise, but in the 2012 general election major violations occurred. From poll workers requiring voter registration numbers to cast provisional ballots, to last minute polling location changes, minority voters in Douglas County experienced voter disenfranchisement and Jan and Milo held down the headquarters coordinating Civic Nebraska staff and volunteers who were on the ground observing.

Election Protection Program 2012

Without dedicated volunteers like Milo and Jan leading operations both in the headquarters and on the ground, the large scope of Civic Nebraska”s Election Protection Program would not be possible. In 2012 they coordinated over 80 observers at 50 sites across Lincoln and Omaha, and helped lead a similar operation in 2014.

Milo Mumgaard serves as the senior policy adviser to the Mayor of Lincoln and founded Nebraska Appleseed. Jan Gradwohl is a retired judge and tireless civil rights advocate.

Milo and Jan will be recognized at the 2015 Strengthening Democracy Awards held April 30th from 5pm – 7pm at the UNL Quilt Museum. Individual tickets are $50 and include a drink ticket and heavy appetizers. Tickets can be purchased https://www.eventbrite.com/e/strengthening-democracy-awards-tickets-15686360326

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