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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.

Featured

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.

Make A Plan to Vote with These Resources

With just a few days left before the Nov. 6, 2018 election, today’s a great day to talk with your friends and neighbors and jot down your plan to vote. It’s great to have a plan to help ensure that you don’t miss your opportunity to cast your ballot and exercise your right to vote.

Insure the Good Life has a short survey that you can use to think through your voting plan. After you submit, you’ll get an email that you can print or keep on your phone as a reminder of your plans to vote on or before Nov. 6.

Here are some more resources to share on voting in Omaha.

For Everyone

Read Nonpartisan Candidate Profiles

Get nonpartisan candidate info, customized for your specific ballot, at Vote411.org. See also: How to Use Vote411 to Get All the Info You Need to Vote

We also have our full Douglas County Voters’ Guide (PDF).

View A Sample Ballot

You can look up what your specific ballot will look like. To do this, visit the election commission website for Douglas County or Sarpy County (pick the county you live in). See also: Did You Know? You Can View Sample Ballots Before Voting

For Early Voters

Find a Dropbox

If you have an early/vote by mail ballot that you haven’t yet returned, make sure you get it in by mail, into a dropbox or return it in person to your county election commission office. See also: Did You Know? Douglas County Voters Can Return Early Ballots via Anytime Dropboxes

Check Your Ballot Status

If you’ve turned in your ballot, you can check that it was accepted on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Vote Early In Person

If you did not get in an application to get a ballot mailed to you in on time but would still like to vote early, you can vote early in person at your county election commission office.

Douglas County 

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Monday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3

Location: 225 North 115th Street, Omaha 68154

Phone: 402-444-VOTE (8683)

Sarpy County

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Thursday and Friday

Location: 501 Olson Dr. Suite 4, Papillion, NE 68046

Phone: 402-593-2167

For Election Day Voters

Get Time Off

In Nebraska, as long as you provide notice before Election Day, you can take up to two hours’ paid time off to vote on Nov. 6.

Exceptions: Your employer can specify which hours you take and can deny your request if you already have at least two hours of eligible voting time before or after your shift. Example: If you work 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., your employer can deny you voting leave because you could, theoretically, vote between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Locate Your Polling Place

Look up your polling place by entering your info on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Remember: Polling places are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you’re in line at 8 p.m. but haven’t yet voted, stay in line. You cannot be denied a ballot if you are in line at your polling place by 8 p.m.

Get A Ride to Your Polling Place

If you need a ride to the polls in North Omaha, you can call Black Votes Matter at 402-312-2891.

Rideshare apps Uber and Lyft are also offering free or reduced-rate rides to the polls on Nov. 6.

The Omaha Metro bus system is not offering reduced rates, but you can plan your route to your polling place via the bus on their website.

Report Voter Intimidation or Any Other Issues

If you experience any problems on Election Day, you can report issues to Civic Nebraska via the following phone numbers.

In English: 402-904-5191
En Español: 1-888-839-8682

The Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office also has an Election Integrity Unit, reachable at 888-727-0007.

Become an Election Observer with Civic Nebraska

Civic Nebraska seeks individuals to volunteer as nonpartisan election observers. Observers act in a passive role, monitoring elections and the polling places, reporting back to Civic Nebraska their observations, particularly instances of concern.

As part of their observations, election observers gather data on how elections are administered from one county to the next and record any irregularities or differing treatment of voters based on geography. This information is shared with local county election officials and state election officials to identify areas of success and improvement and pursue future legislative initiatives to improve the voter’s experience.

There is an additional signup for giving rides to the polls for voters who need transportation.

Volunteers are typically placed close to a polling location where they live, unless there is a special need to change or they request to travel. All shifts are available:  8-11 a.m., 12-3 p.m., 4-6 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. There are 25 people doing poll observation for Omaha.

For more info, contact Civic Nebraska’s Omaha field director  Shannon Casey at 402-779-9200.

To sign-up to volunteer for Civic Nebraska’s Election Protection Program, fill out the form at  https://goo.gl/forms/IKjMd2dv1Q1JFddv2.

Download the 2018 Douglas County Voters’ Guide

Download and read the 2018 voters’ guide here: General Election Voters’ Guide.

You can print, save and share this nonpartisan guide to the Nov. 6, 2018 election.

Haga clic aquí para la Elección General del Estado de la Guía de Votantes del Condado de Douglas.

2018 General Election Candidate Forum: Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 3

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 3. The candidates in this nonpartisan race are Jim Trebbien and Maureen Monahan.

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.

Taking Action Against Gun Violence: Dine & Discuss with Megan Gentrup of Moms Demand Action

Please join us from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22 at Valentino’s at 108th & L streets for Dine & Discuss. This month, our featured speaker is Megan Gentrup from the nonpartisan group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to reduce drunk driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to demand action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms. Come hear how the group is taking action nationally and in Nebraska, and is working with student groups.

If you’d like to eat (you do not have to dine to discuss), the buffet is $14.14. Drinks included (wine and beer are extra). Optional RSVP to our office omahalwv@gmail.com or 402-344-3701.

Voters’ Guide: Douglas County Sheriff

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Everyone living in Douglas County, Neb., is represented by this office.

Candidates for Douglas County Sheriff

Timothy F. Dunning (R):  http://www.sherifftimdunning.com. Current Public Office: Douglas County Sheriff since January 1995. Past Public Office: None. Education: BS UNO Criminal Justice, MPA UNO Public Administration. Military experience: None. Volunteer experience: Mid America Council Boy Scouts, Coalition on Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, Red Cross Fight Crime Invest in Kids Major, County Sheriff’s Association Foundation Board, Nebraska Sheriff’s Associ Better Living INC., Explorer Scouts.

Mike Hughes (D): Web Site – http://Hughesforsheriff.com, Current Public Office, dates held – None, Past Public Office, dates held – None,
Education – Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice – University of Nebraska at Omaha Master’s degree in public administration – Columbia Southern University, Military experience – U.S. Army – Corporal Awards Army Commendation Medal Army Achievement Medal (3 times) Good Conduct Medal National Defense Medal Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/ bronze star Global War on Terrorism Medal Army Service Medal Overseas Medal NATO Medal, Volunteer experience – 100 Black Men of Omaha (Mentor) Assistant High School Basketball Coach (Sophomore level) Various guest speaking ventures Multiple community events to include career fairs and homeless advocacy

Douglas County Sheriff Candidates’ Responses

How can law enforcement officers engage with the community in ways that will gain the community’s trust?

Timothy F. Dunning:  Law Enforcement Officers need to be visible to the public and engage with them as frequently as possible to gain trust and familiarity. My agency is involved in the NETS (Neighborhood Engagement Thru Sports) and has proven to be very effective in interacting with youth in a positive manner. Our SRO’s (School Resource Officers) take advantage of a great opportunity to interact with kids by being available to them throughout the day and in after school activities. Shop with a Sheriff, Coffee w/

Mike Hughes: I believe that community involvement from a law enforcement perspective plays a vital role in helping to combat crime. I would recommend that the Sheriff’s Office in particular initiate community oriented policing. This would take the form of hosting back to school drives to provide young people with the essential tools necessary to be successful early on in the school year. Hosting bike rally’s, baseball, football, and or basketball events that can bring all members of our community together.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Timothy F. Dunning:  I have already had my first year so I would like to remain active in the community and on Boards that address community concerns such as: Opioid Crisis, Human Trafficking and Cyber Crimes.

Mike Hughes: I hope to focus a great deal of energy building relationships with other city and county leaders to bring a more collaborative effort to the Sheriff’s Office in order to bring more effective and efficient public safety to our citizens. I would also like to create a culture that emphasizes community oriented policing that can help bridge the gap between community and law enforcement. There are many issues that our community faces from the Opioid crisis, to gang violence.

The problems of gun violence are in the news. What do you think can be done, if anything, to improve safety in Douglas County?

Timothy F. Dunning:  I think the key ingredients is to encourage people to report crimes directly to Law Enforcement or through Crime Stoppers. The better Law Enforcement increases it’s dialogue with the Community the more apt people are to report. The stigma of being a SNITCH or a RAT needs to be translated into wanting to better your community and more safety for your family and neighbors.

Mike Hughes: Along with the enforcement of written laws and created tasks force to eradicate violent offenders law enforcement must work in conjunction with the community to provide opportunities for young people. Gun violence and socioeconomic status go hand and hand. With that if law enforcement officials can build rapport with the community I believe that this will assist in reducing gun violence (community-oriented policing). I would like to work with education agency to help promote higher education…

2018 General Election Candidate Forum: Millard School Board

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 3. The candidates in this nonpartisan race are David Anderson, Stacy Jolley, Mike Kennedy and Dulce Sherman.

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 General Election Candidate Forum: Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 2 & At-Large

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), Subdivision 1. The candidates in this nonpartisan race are Brad Ashby and Erin Feichtinger for the district 2 seat and Paul Anderson and Ron Hug for the at-large district seat.

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.