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Election Facts at a Glance: Get Ready for the 2018 Primary

Election Day for the 2018 primary is May 15 and the deadline to register or change your registration (if you’ve moved, changed your name, want to change your political party affiliation, etc.) is coming up fast. In Douglas and Sarpy counties, the deadline to register by mail, through an agent (like one of our voter-registration volunteers) or online is April 30. Douglas County residents can also register in-person at the election commission office any time before 6 p.m. on May 4.

As part of our mission to empower voters, LWVGO has put together a two-page printable factsheet about the election: ElectFacts: 2018 Primary. Below, we’ve collected some more extensive information about the primary and how to be a voter. We also have a Google Calendar available with the deadlines and will be collecting candidate forums and other resources on our website under the heading “2018 ELECTIONS.”

We encourage you to distribute this information with your friends, families and community members.

Get out there and go vote, Omaha!

About This Election

Nebraska primary basics

In this election, voters will narrow the field — candidates that “win” their primary elections will go on to compete in the 2018 general election in November.

Many of Nebraska’s state and local offices are nonpartisan (including the state legislature and public utility races), so, in these races, the top two candidates — regardless of their political party affiliation — will move on the general election.

For example, Nebraska legislative district 8 has three candidates on the ballot, all of whom are registered Democrats. The primary election next month will determine which two will appear on the general election ballot in November.

Other offices have partisan primary races. This means that the primary election determines which candidate represents a given party in the general election.

For example, the Nebraska governor’s race has two Republicans and three Democrats in the primary. There will be two winners — one for each party, and those two will go on to appear on the general election ballot.

Some races, both nonpartisan and partisan ones, won’t be on the primary ballot because the number of candidates is small enough that they all advance to the general election.

For example, there’s only one Democratic candidate for secretary of state (a statewide, partisan race) but there are two Republican candidates, so voters who vote the Democratic ballot won’t see secretary of state as an option but those who vote the Republican ballot will.

Omaha Public Schools’ bond issue

Residents in the Omaha Public School District will have an issue on their ballots, in addition to the primary candidates running for representation of their districts. OPS voters will decide to grant or not grant a bond to fund the school district. You can find out more about this issue from Go Vote, Omaha.

Who Can Vote

You are eligible to vote in Nebraska if you are:

  1. A Nebraska resident; and
  2. A US citizen; and
  3. At least 18 years old OR 17 years old but you’ll be 18 by Nov. 6, 2018; and
  4. Have never been convicted of a felony OR have been convicted of a felony but have completed your entire sentence (including probation/parole and incarceration), plus 2 years of wait-time. (Citizens with misdemeanor convictions or citizens who have spent time in jail, including while awaiting trial, do not lose their right to vote.)

What about political parties?

Voters must select a political party when they register. There are four recognized parties: Republican, Democratic, Libertarian and Nonpartisan.

Registered voters of all parties (including nonpartisans) can vote in the primary election. Republican, Democratic and Libertarian voters will receive ballots specific to their respective parties. Nonpartisan voters will receive Nonpartisan ballots and can also choose to vote an additional ballot. If they elect to, Nonpartisans can choose to also vote the Nonpartisan Republican ballot, Nonpartisan Democratic ballot or Nonpartisan Libertarian ballot. These additional ballots include only the respective party’s Congressional race. View this graphic from the Douglas County Election Commission for a visual explanation.

What if I don’t have an address or are registered at my parents’ address but go to school out-of-state?

If you are registered at your parent’s home, you will need to request an early ballot to vote by mail.

If you live in a shelter, you can register to vote using the address of the shelter. You can vote early or on Election Day.

If you do not have an address at all, you can register to vote using the address of your county election commission office as your address. You can then vote early, in-person at the election commission office between April 16 and May 14. You cannot vote on Election Day.

If you are in a county jail, you can register to vote using your home address. You will need to request an early ballot to vote by mail.

How to Register to Vote

The deadline to register to vote in this election is April 30.

Nebraska residents can register online via the Nebraska Secretary of State’s website.

You can also register to by paper: You can fill out and print the form and mail it to your election commission or bring it in. (Mailed registrations must be postmarked by April 30.)

Douglas County Election Commission
225 North 115th Street
Omaha, NE 68154

Sarpy County Election Commission
501 Olson Dr. Suite 4
Papillion, NE 68046

Verify your registration and that all your information is correct by going to the Nebraska Voter Check website and entering your information under “Registration Information.”

How, When & Where to Vote

Nebraska voters can: vote early by going to their county election office (early in-person voting), vote early by mailing their ballot to their county election office (vote by mail), vote early by dropping off a ballot in a dropbox, or vote in-person at their polling place.

Early Voting

You can go to your county election commission office and vote early in-person any time between 8 a.m. Monday, April 16 and 6 p.m. Monday, May 14. Here are the office addresses:

Douglas County Election Commission
225 North 115th Street
Omaha, NE 68154

Sarpy County Election Commission
501 Olson Dr. Suite 4
Papillion, NE 68046

Vote By Mail (VBM)

In Douglas and Sarpy counties, you have to request a ballot to get it mailed to you. If you request a ballot, you cannot vote on Election Day. In Douglas County, you can also drop your ballot off at a dropbox instead of putting it in the mail.

To get a ballot mailed to you, fill out the form for your county and then email it in, mail it in or deliver it to your county election commission office. The deadline is 6 p.m. on Friday, May 4.

Douglas County Application
Email: earlyvoting@votedouglascounty.com
Dropbox Locations

Office Location:
225 North 115th Street
Omaha, NE 68154

Sarpy County Application
Email: earlyvote@sarpy.com
Office Location:
501 Olson Dr. Suite 4
Papillion, NE 68046

Verifying Your Ballot Was Received

After voting, it’s a good idea to check that your early/vote-by-mail ballot was received and accepted. To do this, go to the Nebraska Voter Check website, click on “Absentee Ballot” and enter your information.

At-Poll (Election Day) Voting

If you did not request an early/absentee/VBM ballot, you’ll vote on Election Day, which is Tuesday, May 15. You’ll go to your polling place any time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Your election commission office should have sent you a card with your polling place information and district information when you registered or changed your registration. But you can find your polling place online if you need to: Go to the Nebraska Voter Check website and enter your address.

How to Find Out Who & What Will Be On Your Ballot

Your election commission office should have sent you a card with your polling place information and district information when you registered or changed your registration.

If you live in Douglas or Sarpy County, you can also find out your districts online. You can then match up your districts with voting guides to find out more about the candidates running to be your representative in those districts.

You can find out who is running in each race/district on the Douglas County Election Commission website (this includes statewide races and U.S. House of Representatives District 2 but not races specific to only Sarpy County).

Because this is a primary and there’s a mix of partisan and nonpartisan races, there are different ballots for the different political parties. Every ballot has the nonpartisan races that you’re eligible to vote for plus the bond-issue question, if you live in the Omaha Public School District. Libertarian, Republican and Democratic ballots have all the nonpartisan races, the bond-issue question (if you live in the OPS District), plus the party candidates for the partisan races.

Find Your Districts: Douglas County

If you’re registered, you can use the Nebraska Voter Check website to find both your polling place information and your districts.

If you’re not registered (or just recently registered), go to the Douglas County Election Commission website and enter your address under “Finding Your Voting Information.” (Tip: Use the advanced search for better results.)

Find Your Districts: Sarpy County

Go to the Polling Place Locator website and enter your address. Under the Voting Info tab, you’ll see your polling place address and can even click on links to view sample ballots. Click on the Districts tab to see all of your representatives and the districts they represent.

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Join Observer Corps

Want to get to know your local government and help make democracy work? Join Observer Corps!

Observer Corps are a structured way for individuals to exercise their right to know. They provide a valuable service to the community. They help ensure that citizens are aware of the decisions that impact their lives and they promote government transparency and accountability.

An observer is an individual who attends a governmental meeting, notes what happens at the meeting, and reports back to the League and through the League to the community. By attending public meetings of local governmental bodies/agencies, observers learn more about what their government is doing. They learn about the issues facing their community and are empowered to take action, if warranted. They also learn how issues are being addressed.

Observers generally do not “act” on issues in these meetings as a representative of the League (observers should not provide commentary or testimony on issues on behalf of the League). Instead, observers attend meetings to gather information. Through the process, their presence encourages better, more transparent government.

Anyone is welcome to become an observer. Non-members are welcome to join and all participants are encouraged to bring a friend!

How much time does it take?

Observers can choose when they are available and how much time they are able to spend observing. They can choose to observe bodies that meet during the day, in the evenings and that are held weekly, twice per month, monthly or every other month. Observers can also choose to “virtually attend” meetings at any time they like by watching/listening to recordings available online. If there is a large enough response, we may be able to “double up” observers and even have rotating schedules (one meeting on, one meeting off), if desired.

To become an observer:

  1. Fill out the interest survey here: http://bit.ly/ObsSignup.
  2. Attend a brief training session with one or both of the observer corps leaders. (This can be done in person or online.)
  3. Attend your first meeting! We can provide outlines for taking notes if you like.

Any questions?

Contact Alex Garrison at alexcgarrison@gmail.com or Linda Duckworth at lindabduckworth@gmail.com.

Watch the Kim Culp Juvenile Justice Forum

On March 22, 2018, LWVGO hosted the first-annual Kim Culp Juvenile Justice Forum. The forum, titled “The State of Juvenile Justice in Nebraska,” featured panelists: Chris Rodgers, Douglas County Commissioner; Jeanne Brandner, Deputy, Probation Administrator-Juvenile Services Division; Anne Hobbs, Director, UNO Juvenile Justice Institute; Juliet Summers, Juvenile Justice Policy Coordinator, Voices for Children and Julie Rogers, Inspector General, Child Welfare & Juvenile Probation. The forum was sponsored by LWVGO, the League of Women Voters of Nebraska and Partnership4Kids.

Kim Culp developed many programs through the Douglas County Juvenile Assessment Center and non-profits in Omaha, always with an emphasis on relationship building, cultural competence and understanding the impact of the child welfare system on children’s lives. After retirement, Kim was active in the League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha and served as Vice President at the time of her death in May 2017.

LWVGO 2017-2018 Accomplishments

League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha

2017-2018 Accomplishments

Voter Services-

Voter Registration and Deputy Voter Registrar Training-

The League sponsored a deputy registrar training last fall with over 60 signing up to attend.  Our League regularly works with the Douglas County Election Commission on voter registration and has an excellent working relationship with the election commissioner, his deputy and staff.

In 2017, LWVGO:

  • Logged 851 volunteer hours by 195 volunteers
  • Registered 468 folks at 70 sites, including 132 seniors in high school, 162 community sites, 174 newly naturalized
  • Distributed 520 Citizen Guides to Voting and displayed voter information in 125 City
  • Sent 534 reminders to vote by postcard and 614 by
  • We hosted 20 TV shows on issues and three candidate
  • We distributed 3,500 Voters Guides, our non-partisan print piece that offers a great deal of information from office candidates in their own

We provided voter education for:

  • 12 American Government classes in the Omaha Public Schools
  • 38 partner
  • In 2018, so far, 284 high school seniors were registered to vote and three presentations were made.

Naturalization Ceremonies-

A team attends all ceremonies to congratulate new citizens and to allow them to register to vote immediately, if desired. Each new citizen receives a packet including a voter registration form, a brochure on their voting rights in Nebraska, another brochure explaining how to perform the act of voting, a ballpoint pen with our League’s contact information and a business card with Vote411.org information. In 2017, 525 new citizens received LWVGO packets and 174 new citizens registered to vote. In 2018, so far,140 new citizens received packets and 68 new citizens registered to vote.

Get Out the Vote-

This committee created a Get Out the Vote tool kit including magnets, business cards and other voter information. It sends postcards and/or text messages to newly registered voters reminding them to actually get out and vote on election day.

Election Education Resources-

Voters Guide, Vote 411.org and video-recorded Candidate Forums for municipal and Primary Elections were produced. All were available online with hard copies of the Voters Guide available at all public library branches and the election commission office.

Go, Vote, Omaha!-

Our weekly half-hour television program on local public access television covering public policy issues and providing Candidate Forums in election season. In 2017, we had five candidate or issue forums for the City of Omaha elections. In 2018, we had 9 candidate forums and one issue forum for the May 15 primary election.

Running and Winning-

In partnership with the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Service Learning Academy, our League held the 6th edition of the biennial Running and Winning workshop for high school girls on October 25th. The one-day workshop is designed to give girls a taste of what it’s like to run for elective office and run a campaign. We invite women who are current or past elected officials to share their expertise with young future leaders. By introducing bright young women to experienced female politicians in this fun, informative, non-partisan event, we hope to encourage them to consider running for political office one day.

Past elected officials were invited to share their expertise with young future leaders.  Approximately 49 girls from four high schools (Omaha Central High School, Omaha South High School, Westside High School and Northwest High School) participated.

Membership-

We welcomed 77 new members between April 1, 2017 and May 1, 2018 (compared to 53 in the same period from 2016-2017), bringing our 1/1/2017 to present new-member total to 105 and our total number of members as of May 1, 2018 to 240. Membership directors have reached out to every new member to offer their time to meet with the new member, welcoming them into the League and getting them connected to all the wonderful resources and volunteer opportunities available.

Meet the League events are held to expand membership along social events such as a Christmas party.  Our League participates in many annual parades and events such as Earth Day to highlight our work and increase the visibility of our work in the community.  It also has a Book Club that participates in the Great Decisions discussion program on world affairs.

Dine and Discuss

Monthly evening meetings open to the public are held at a local restaurant. A featured guest presents on a public policy issue for education and discussion.

Communications-

In October 2017, LWVGO launched a brand-new, custom-designed website with a blog allowing subscriptions. Since then, the website has had more than 13,000 unique page views with about 8,000 of those coming in the month leading up to our primary election.

The new website provides safe and secure payment processing, allowing for much easier new memberships and membership renewals to take place (and be paid for) online. So far, we’ve had 91 members join or renew online. The site also allows for payment for “one-off” use and we used the website to register and collect payment from attendees at our annual meeting.

We also set up Google for Nonprofits, a wide-ranging suite of powerful business applications, provided for free, that will allow for easier board-member communication and collaboration. We will continue to look for additional efficiencies to be gained by having a more robust online toolset.

Our monthly Bulletin was revised as an emailed publication. Expanded social media presence on three platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Fundraising-

Successfully applied for and received several grants for voter services and to fund an Office Administrator position. Fundraising efforts include annual events: an Ice Cream Social and participation in the 24 hr Omaha Gives! charitable challenge hosted by the Omaha Community Foundation.

Juvenile Justice Forum-

Our League cosponsored with the League of Women Voters of Nebraska and  Partnership 4Kids the first annual Kim Culp Juvenile Justice Forum in March 2018.  Culp was LWVGO’s Vice President at the time of her death last year. She was founding Director of the Douglas County Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC). The annual forum in her memory is intended to honor her legacy and to  educate the community about important issues affecting youth in the juvenile justice system. Culp developed several programs through the JAC and non-profits in Omaha stressing relationship building, cultural competence, and understanding the impact the children’s welfare system has on the lives of youth.

Make Calls, Not Comments: A Guide to Contacting Your Representatives

The League of Women Voters of Metro Columbus (Ohio) created this helpful video guide for contacting representatives. Check it out below.

You can find your elected officials’ contact information via the Nebraska Voter Check website. Happy calling!

Building Kids’ Foundations for Success: Join Us for Our May Dine & Discuss

Our May Dine & Discuss event will be from 5 to 7 p.m. (speaker begins at 5:30) on Monday, May 23 at Valentino’s, 5022 S 108th St.

Our guest speaker is Toia Phillips, High School Program Coordinator with Partnership 4 Kids.

Partnership 4 Kids is a goal setting and group mentoring program that builds hope for under-served students and helps them create a foundation for success from kindergarten to careers.

Toia and Partnership 4 Kids recently collaborated with the League by co-sponsoring the first annual Kim Culp Juvenile Justice Forum held this past March. She was an active and vital member of the forum planning committee.

You are welcome to come to listen to the speaker without purchasing a buffet meal. If you would like to eat, the buffet cost is $14.14.

Optional RSVP to our office omahalwv@gmail.com or 402-344-3701.

Anyone is welcome to attend. However, please be aware that the League of Women Voters never supports or opposes political parties or candidates. Advocacy on behalf of parties or candidates is not allowed at our meetings as we discuss the issues.

2018 Candidate Forum: Unicameral, Legislative District 20

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Nebraska state senate/Unicameral in district 20. The candidates are Jackie Collett, Chris Anne Dienstbier and John McCollister. Following the May 15 primary election, the top two vote-getters of these three candidates will continue to the general-election ballot in November.

Find out more about the primary in our Get Ready to Vote FAQ and nonpartisan voters’ guide. You can watch all our candidate forums and see all of our 2018 elections info under “2018 ELECTIONS” on our home page.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any candidate for office or political party. LWVGO’s mission is to inform and empower voters.

2018 Candidate Forum: Unicameral, Legislative District 6

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Nebraska state senate/Unicameral in district 6. The candidates are Machaela Cavanaugh, Ricky Fulton and Theresa Thibodeau. Following the May 15 primary election, the top two vote-getters of these three candidates will continue to the general-election ballot in November.

Find out more about the primary in our Get Ready to Vote FAQ and nonpartisan voters’ guide. You can watch all our candidate forums and see all of our 2018 elections info under “2018 ELECTIONS” on our home page.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any candidate for office or political party. LWVGO’s mission is to inform and empower voters.

2018 Candidate Forum: Congressional Primary Democratic Debate, Co-Hosted with WOWT

Nebraska Congressional District 2 Primary Democratic debate between Brad Ashford and Kara Eastman at the Omaha Press Club, April 19, 2018. Produced by WOWT NBC Omaha, Channel 6.

Find out more about the primary in our Get Ready to Vote FAQ and nonpartisan voters’ guide. You can watch all our candidate forums and see all of our 2018 elections info under “2018 ELECTIONS” on our home page.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any candidate for office or political party. LWVGO’s mission is to inform and empower voters.

2018 Candidate Forum: Omaha Public School District Board of Education, Subdistricts 2 & 6

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha hosted a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education-Subdistricts 2 & 6. Candidates participating: Subdistrict 2- Zach Boiko, Marlon Brewer and Marque Snow. Subdistrict 6-Jeff Jezewski, Nancy Kratky, and Mike Moody. Two candidates from each subdistrict will advance to the November election in these non-partisan races.

Find out more about the primary in our Get Ready to Vote FAQ and nonpartisan voters’ guide. You can watch all our candidate forums and see all of our 2018 elections info under “2018 ELECTIONS” on our home page.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any candidate for office or political party. LWVGO’s mission is to inform and empower voters.

Did You Know? You Can View Sample Ballots Before Voting

In the run-up to the 2018 primary election, we’re posting quick facts about voting to help you get out and go vote, Omaha! 

Today’s fact: You can view your sample ballot online before you head to the polls. This may help you prepare for your vote and line up your research by knowing which races and candidates that you’ll see.

Remember, you can get more nonpartisan information about candidates from the LWVGO Voters’ Guide and Vote411.org.

To view sample ballots, follow the directions below as applicable.

Douglas County

  1. Navigate to the Douglas County Election Commissioner’s website, VoteDouglasCounty.com.
  2. Find the “Find Your Voting Information” box on the left side of the page. Enter the House # and Zip Code for your address. Example: If my address was 123 Main St., Omaha, NE, 68102, I’d enter “123” as the house number and “68102” as the zip code.
  3. Click Search. You’ll see a new page with a list of search results. Click on your address. If you don’t see your address, click “contact us” or “advanced search.”
  4. Once you’ve clicked on an address, you’ll see a new page that shows: The name and address of your polling place.
    1. A link to a map (Google Maps) to your polling place.
    2. A photo of the outside of your polling place.
    3. Links to sample ballots for all parties.
  5. Click on the links to the sample ballots to view them.

Because this is a primary election, there are different ballots for voters of different parties. You can view any of these sample ballots online, but which you see in the voting booth will depend on your registered party and, if you’re a registered Nonpartisan voter, which you ask your poll worker for. See this graphic from the Douglas County Election Commission for more info.

Sarpy County

  1. Navigate to the Sarpy County Election Commissioner’s website, Sarpy.com/offices/election-commission.
  2. Click on Sample Ballots. This page will walk you through the process.
  3. Alternatively, you can navigate directly to the Sarpy County Polling Place Locator website and then enter your address.
  4. With your address entered, you’ll see a page that includes Voting Info, Directions and Districts. Click on the links to view sample ballots for each party near the bottom of the page. 

Because this is a primary election, there are different ballots for voters of different parties. You can view any of these sample ballots online, but which you see in the voting booth will depend on your registered party and, if you’re a registered Nonpartisan voter, which you ask your poll worker for. See this graphic from the Douglas County Election Commission for more info.