Celebrating the Volunteer Creators of the Douglas County Voters’ Guide

Heroes of the League of Women Voters

Developing and providing the League of Women Voters’ Guide is a “herculean task.” It takes many dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to produce the Guide in a very short time. Featured below are four volunteers who devoted over 300 hours developing the Guide for the 2018 Primary and General Elections. These volunteers are heroes of the League of Women Voters.

Kathy Dewell

This is the eighth Guide for Kathy who serves as editor of the League of Women Voters Greater Omaha (LWVGO) Douglas County Voters Guide that includes local political races.  Kathy believes the Guide is important so citizens make informed educated decisions on who they want to serve in political office, rather than relying on recommendations by parties, partisan groups, etc.  She emphasizes that lesser known races matter deeply to the health of our community. Kathy believes the Guide helps citizens understand what a candidate stands for and provides details on how he/she plan to carry out their beliefs.  Kathy works in IT for Mutual of Omaha, is married and the mother of two children ages, 17 & 19.

Rebecca Armstrong Langle

This is the 10th Voters’ Guide for Rebecca who has been helping LWVGO and the State League since 2012. Rebecca manages candidate information for the state offices and state legislature on the Vote411.org website for all Nebraskans. Rebecca is Vice President of Development at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, is an alumnus of the New Leaders Council and is nominated for the 2018 Emerging Non-Profit Leader. From her political science education and experience working for Senator Ben Nelson, Rebecca is interested in education of voters and equality issues and generously gives back to the community. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Ryan and dog, Delilah.  

Laura Torres Olivera

Laura translated the Voters’ Guide into Spanish. Laura came to Omaha from Mexico City, Mexico 10 years ago. Growing up, Laura had the opportunity to live in France and Canada. She speaks English, Spanish and French. She is married and has one son who is studying at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. In Mexico, Laura worked for Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (National Bank for Foreign Trade). Her activities focused on the improvement of foreign investment in Mexico. Laura is passionate about the promotion of democracy, transparency and the betterment of representative forms of government.

Lilia Franciscony

Lilia served as the proofreader of the Spanish language guide.  Recently retired from Omaha Steaks as a Bilingual Benefits Specialist, and prior to that, Lilia retired from Mutual of Omaha as a translator.   Lilia came to the United States from Caracas Venezuela 35 years ago to attend graduate school at UNO. Lilia has one daughter who lives here in Omaha. Lilia enjoys the League because it provides a clear consistent structure of support to the community and provides her with options to donate as much or as little time as her schedule permits. Her experience of living in another country, has made Lilia want to embrace and defend democracy as a right and a duty.

The Making of the Voters’ Guide & Vote411.org

The Voters’ Guide has been an institution in Douglas County for the past 50 years and is appreciated throughout the state. The LWVGO Voters’ Guide covers statewide races as well as local races in Douglas County. The Douglas County Election Commission requests the paper guides on the first day of early voting because voters ask for and expect it. The other Nebraska Leagues in Lincoln, Hastings and Seward did not provide local candidate Guides in 2018 but promote utilization of Vote411.org website for its content on statewide races (Legislature, Governor, and many state offices.)

The 2018 paper Guide was printed for the Primary and General Elections. The Voters Guide team was exemplary in providing the Guide on the day ballots were mailed out to the public, (35 days prior to the election) which is challenging because of the late deadline established for candidates filing for office.  The Voters’ Guide for the Primary election covered 46 offices/districts. The 48-page general election Guide covered 59 races and districts and was translated into Spanish.

The Voters’ Guide team 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. They are asked to submit their answers online in the www.vote411.org website.  The process of “making” the Guide is a detailed complicated undertaking, below is a condensed listing of the steps to making the Voters’ Guide:

  • Contact Election commission and Secretary of State to determine if any district boundaries have changed.  If boundaries have changed, purchase updated GIS files from the Commission and upload.
  • Obtain a list of candidates from the Election office, which does not always include the candidates email address.  Volunteers try to obtain missing email addresses.
  • Form questions for candidates by a committee to obtain their position on several key issues, these questions are inputted into vote411.org
  • Prepare Vote411.org with offices on the ballot set up, develop email templates for candidates
  • Send candidates a postcard to make them aware they will be receiving an email with details on how to participate in the Voters’ Guide.  Next, they receive an email invitation with a link to answer the candidate questions on vote411 website
  • Send reminder emails to candidates who do not respond
  • Format paper Voters’ Guide for printing

Funders of Vote411 & Voters Guide

Thanks to the Nebraska Civic Engagement Table for helping fund the Douglas County Voters Guide!

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.

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.

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.

Ballot Initiative 427 – Medicaid Expansion: Get the Facts

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, host Geri Simon discusses the initiative to expand Medicaid that will appear on Nebraskans’ Nov. 6 ballot. Geri is joined by Mary Spurgeon, co-chair of the Healthcare Action team at Omaha Together One Community (OTOC).

View the discussion to learn more about Ballot Initiative #427 for the Expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska under the ACA.

Please note: The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha supports Medicaid expansion and voting for Ballot Initiative #427 on Nov. 6.

You can view more info about the initiative in our archives and from OTOC.

Voters’ Guide: Douglas County West Board of Education

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.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Douglas County West Board of Education

Kelly Hinrichs (R):  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen (NP):  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr. (NP):  Education: BS — Northwest Missouri State University (2000),  MS — Clarkson College (2008),  MBA — University of Colorado (2020).  Volunteer experience: Board President — DC West Youth Sports,  Gretna Volunteer Fire Department — Assistant Chief (past)

Patrick McCarville (D):  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson (R):  No response received.

Amanda Wright (D):  No response received.

Douglas County West Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

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

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  I believe that the work the current board has undertaken in the past has laid ground work to further improve the community and the education our youth receive. They keep professional development opportunities for the staff at the forefront to assure the students of the best instruction possible. I would continue to strengthen both of these initiatives.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  DC West has already taken steps to be on the leading edge of technology for our students in the rapidly changing world of education and have received national attention for their success with robotics and the STEM programs offered to the youth. The district needs to maintain this momentum.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  Safety should be a priority, not only from a external perspective but also from an internal perspective.  Every student, staff member and support personnel  should feel safe coming to school. Programs to promote kindness/inclusiveness should continue and the relationship between DC West, the Valley Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriffs Office should be strengthened.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.