Why Election Protection: The Expiring Right


“Why Election Protection” is a blog series highlighting the importance of nonpartisan election protection programs and the work of Civic Nebraska to protect voters in the upcoming general election.

Twelve hours. That’s it. On Election Day, a voter has 12 hours to assert their right to vote. Once the clock strikes 8pm (7pm MST), the doors to the polling place shuts, the end of the line of voters is determined, the opportunity to have your voice heard is gone.

That is why what we do is so important.

As part of our Election Protection Program, we send nonpartisan election observers to polling places to advocate for the voter, to help them assert their right to vote.

Sometimes it is as simple as locating the voter’s correct polling place.

Sometimes it is identifying an individual’s right to vote is being violated and alerting them to this fact, making sure they stay at the polling place and preserve their right until a lawyer can get there.

Sometimes it is recognizing a poll worker is not following protocol and reporting the issue so the county election official can stop it.

kyr_sharegraphics38In the 2016 primary election, an independent voter in east Lincoln went to vote after work. As she was checking in, one poll worker looked over and saw her party registration was Independent – the poll worker interrupted the poll worker checking her in and said that since Nebraska has a closed primary, the voter would have to wait to vote in the general. What the poll worker said was wrong. The voter lived in a district that had a competitive nonpartisan legislative race that she had a right to vote in, but at 7:45pm the voter just turned around and went home. The voter got in touch with Civic Nebraska but at that point it was too late.

This is why we need you.

We need more volunteers at more polling places to ensure this doesn’t happen on November 8th. We need you to share Civic Nebraska’s election protection hotline number. Volunteer shifts are two-hours with a one-hour mandatory training to be held in October. Interested in volunteering? Sign up online or contact our Director of Voting Rights at bri.mclarty@civicnebraska.org or at (402) 904-5191.


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