Join Us June 28 for a Discussion on Redistricting and the Supreme Court

Join us for a facilitated discussion and viewing of a livestream from the League of Women Voters national convention. We’ll watch Nick Stephanopoulos and Ruth Greenwood, who are experts in the redistricting field and will speak on redistricting and the efficiency gap theory. We will hear their perspective as attorneys for the appellees in the case of Gill v. Whitford, which recently saw a ruling by the Supreme Court.

Details of the event: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (livestream starts at 7 p.m.) Thursday, June 28, 2018 at UNO’s Barbara Weiss Community Engagement Center, 6400 South University Drive Road North (near 64th & Dodge streets). We’ll be in room 201. Free parking is available in the lot just in front of the CEC; click here for more info on parking.

This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required but questions can be sent to web@omahalwv.org and you’re welcome to share the event info on Facebook.

Find out more: The League of Women Voters (US) has a resource page and FAQ sheet explaining redistricting and related issues.

Supreme Court Allows Partisan Gerrymandering to Continue

The League of Women Voters released the following statement today.

Washington, DC and Madison, WI – Today the Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate standing in the case of Gill v. Whitford, a case which challenged the state of Wisconsin’s assembly map as an example of partisan gerrymandering. The court is sending this case back to the district court to give the plaintiffs a chance to demonstrate that they have suffered “concrete and particularized injuries.”

“Today’s decision is yet another delay in providing voters with the power they deserve in our democracy,” said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States.“Partisan gerrymandering is distorting and undermining our representative democracy, giving politicians the power to choose their voters, instead of giving voters the power to choose their politicians. We are disappointed that the Court failed to set a standard when it comes to partisan gerrymandering.”

The League filed an amicus brief in this case arguing that partisan gerrymandering violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“We believe the Wisconsin maps deny many citizens the full power of the vote and should be redrawn,” said Erin Grunze, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. “The current redistricting process protects the party in power — whichever party it is — and is not an open and transparent process. Wisconsin lawmakers need to be held accountable to voters and support legislation in the interest of fairness and democracy.”

“Partisan gerrymandering is a problem, it is wrong, and the League of Women Voters will continue to fight for equal representation through fair maps that furthers democracy by empowering voters,” said Carson.

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The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is committed to fighting partisan gerrymandering in Nebraska.

Supreme Court Upholds Unreasonable Voter Purge Standard

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha supports the sentiment shared in the following media release from the League of Women Voters.

High Court Decision Will Disenfranchise Millions in Upcoming Elections

Washington, DC and Columbus, Ohio – Today, the Supreme Court ruled against Ohio voters by upholding the state’s purging practice for those voters who did not vote in a single election in the case of Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute.

“The Supreme Court got this one wrong. The right to vote is not ‘use it or lose it’,” said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. “The public trust in the fairness of our elections is badly shaken. This decision will fuel the fire of voter suppressors across the country who want to make sure their chosen candidates win reelection—no matter what the voters say.”

The League of Women Voters of the United States, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law previously filed a friend of the court brief in the case, arguing that the state’s purge process which could be initiated after a voter missed a single federal election, violated the National Voter Registration Act. Ohio’s voter purge practice, kept hundreds of thousands of eligible, registered voters from participating in the 2016 elections.

“Not only did Ohio voters not find justice today, but the high court has opened up the opportunity for extreme voter purging to continue in Ohio, which could spread to other states,” said Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “Today’s decision further undermines the National Voter Registration Act’s protections for duly registered voters, which will increase voter confusion and provisional ballot counts in the fall. We encourage Ohio voters to confirm their registration ahead of this fall’s elections and to join the League as volunteers register and re-register eligible voters.”

“While this is disappointing, Ohio is one of only a few states that used failure to vote as a trigger for kicking someone off the rolls,” said Myrna Pérez, Director of the Voting Rights and Elections Project at the Brennan Center for Justice. “Our worry is that other states will take this decision as a green light to implement more aggressive voter purges as the 2018 elections loom.”

“A democracy is strongest when every voice can be heard — when every eligible voter can cast their vote and have it counted,” Carson said. “The League of Women Voters will continue to fight for voting rights, for equality at the ballot box, and equal representation in government.”

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is currently researching Nebraska’s voter-purge practices. Have a tip or would like to help? Email web@omahalwv.org.

How Do We Know What’s True Anymore?

Democracy requires well-informed voters to thrive. Yet truth and facts are under assault from misinformation, disinformation, propaganda and fake news. Do YOU know how to assess what’s true and accurate?

In the video below, learn strategies, tips and tools to gauge the credibility and accuracy of information from experts at Google, Facebook, Stanford University, Data for Democracy, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Institute for the Future.

This event was co-sponsored and shared by the League of Women Voters Palo Alto and the Palo Alto PTA Council.

Download and share LWV Palo Alto’s handy handout on information literacy: Tips & Tools for Verifying Information.

Learn More About the Effort to Insure the Good Life in Nebraska: Go Vote Omaha Talks Medicaid Expansion

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, Geri Simon talks to Molly McCleery, Deputy Director and Staff Attorney for Health Care at Nebraska Appleseed. Appleseed, alongside many other groups, is working to get Medicaid expansion onto the November general-election ballot, empowering voters to expand access to healthcare in our state. The campaign needs to collect roughly 85,000 total signatures by July 5. The Nebraska Secretary of State must certify the signatures before the measure is placed on the ballot in November 2018.

Making Medicaid available to people earning less than $17,000 a year would bring health coverage to more than 90,000 struggling Nebraskans. You can find out more, including how to get involved, from Insure the Good Life.

In Omaha, you can sign the sign the petition during drop-in sessions Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at the following locations.

Omaha Petition Coffee Hours
Weekly through end of June
Mondays 7-9 a.m. @ Muglife Coffee (2452 Harney St)
Wednesdays 10 a.m.-Noon @ Muglife Coffee
Fridays 10 a.m.-Noon @ Urban Abbey (1026 Jackson St)

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or CenturyLink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube.

Civic Nebraska Seeking Voters Who Had Party Affiliation Changed

Civic Nebraska is seeking individuals who had their voter party affiliation changed without their knowledge or consent. They ran an election observation program this primary and identified this issue happening to multiple voters. If you, or know someone who had this happen, please contact us at 402-904-5191 or email john.cartier@civicnebraska.org.

You can check your current registration status on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

You can find out more information about the issue at Civic Nebraska’s website.

Insure the Good Life: Find Out More About Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska

A coalition of local and statewide nonprofits and advocacy groups are working to expand access to Medicaid in Nebraska by petitioning to put the issue on the November general-election ballot.

Medicaid is a program jointly funded by the state and federal government. The expansion of the program would allow Nebraska to accept federal funds to help provide health care for the Nebraskans currently in the “coverage gap.” The “gap” refers to Nebraskans who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford insurance on the state health care exchange (and don’t get private insurance through their work).

The majority of Medicaid recipients are working or are children; the program exists to cover low-income children and some of their parents; low-income pregnant woman; certain low-income seniors; and some individuals with disabilities who are under the age of 65.

Expanding Medicaid in Nebraska would support jobs and save the state money by expanding access to preventative health care.

For these reasons and more, the League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha supports the Insure the Good Life ballot initiative and the expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska.

Find out more about the efforts to expand Medicaid below.

About Insure The Good Life

Expanding Medicaid in Nebraska would let 90,000 of our hard-working friends and neighbors finally get the health care they need. The Insure The Good Life campaign seeks to do this by putting Medicaid expansion on the ballot for the November 2018 election.

The campaign needs to collect roughly 85,000 total signatures by July 5. The Nebraska Secretary of State must certify the signatures before the measure is placed on the ballot in November.

Organizations endorsing Insure The Good Life

Organizations supporting the effort include: AARP Nebraska, ACLU of Nebraska, Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, Center for Rural Affairs, Central Nebraska Peace Workers, Children and Family Coalition of Nebraska, Community Action of Nebraska, Inc., Friends of Public Health, Health Center Association of Nebraska (HCAN), Heartland Workers Center, League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha (LWVGO), Multicultural Coalition of Grand Island, National Council of Jewish Women – Nebraska, Nebraska AIDS Project, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors, Nebraska Hospital Association (NHA), Omaha Together One Community (OTOC), PFLAG Grand Island, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Voices for Children in Nebraska.

Get involved!

It will take the grassroots efforts of Nebraskans from all over the state to make this a success, and there are many ways you can help out.

We need help from volunteers to collect signatures at public events and among friends and family. Sign up to volunteer in Omaha at this link.

Omaha petition drop-in hours

Weekly through end of June, you can come to the following locations to sign the petition or ask questions about the issue.

Mondays 7-9 a.m. @ Muglife Coffee (2452 Harney St)

Wednesdays 10 a.m.-Noon @ Muglife Coffee

Fridays 10 a.m.-Noon @ Urban Abbey (1026 Jackson St)

To learn more about Medicaid expansion and the Insure The Good Life, visit insurethegoodlife.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.

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.