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.

take-action

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.

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.

Action Alert: Oppose the Unfair Election Laws LB 1115 and LB 1065

The following is a message from LWVNE President Sherry Miller and LWVNE Social Policy Director John Else to all members. We encourage non-members to participate in this call to action as well.

ACTION ALERT #1: LB 1115, REDUCING POPULATION COUNTS FOR REDISTRICTING

Dear Activists,

It appears that LB 1115 may be debated in the Unicameral this week, since it is on General File. It is Senator Murante’s priority bill. Please call your senator opposing this bill, since it can severely impact the fairness of redistricting in Nebraska. This is the intent of LB 1115, followed by the language of Article III, Section 5 to which it refers.

The following constitutes the reasons for this bill and the purposes which are sought to be accomplished thereby:

Article III, section 5 of the Nebraska Constitution states: “The basis of apportionment shall be the population excluding aliens, as shown by the next preceding federal census.”

LB 1115 would effectuate that policy by requiring the population basis for redistricting for legislative districts, Supreme Court districts, and all political subdivision districts the total population minus non-citizens.

III-5. Legislative districts; apportionment; redistricting, when required.
The Legislature shall by law determine the number of members to be elected and divide the state into legislative districts. In the creation of such districts, any county that contains population sufficient to entitle it to two or more members of the Legislature shall be divided into separate and distinct legislative districts, as nearly equal in population as may be and composed of contiguous and compact territory. One member of the Legislature shall be elected from each such district. The basis of apportionment shall be the population excluding aliens, as shown by the next preceding federal census. The Legislature shall redistrict the state after each federal decennial census. In any such redistricting, county lines shall be followed whenever practicable, but other established lines may be followed at the discretion of the Legislature.

Feel free to use any of the talking points listed below. Be sure to call as YOUR senator’s constituent. They will listen to constituents.

Thank you,

Sherry Miller, President, LWVNE; and John Else, Director of Social Policy

LB 1115 TALKING POINTS

*LB 1115 perpetuates an injustice begun in 1875 when Article III, Section 5 was adopted into the Constitution. The word “aliens” most likely referred to Native Americans or newly arrived immigrants from Europe. It was amended in 1920, probably also in reference to immigrants fleeing the aftermath of WWI.

*Nebraska Legislature obtains the count of “aliens” or “non-citizens” from the U.S. Census.

*It seems that redistricting in Nebraska is based only on citizens (or possibly voters}. Omitting non-citizens overlooks the fact that many of them pay taxes and are therefore taxed without representation.

*This is harmful to those immigrants who are awaiting legal status and are in every sense citizens in actuality except for the completion of application and the naturalization ceremony.

*LB 1115 would expand this limitation on population for redistricting purposes beyond legislative districts to all political subdivisions, not just legislative districts.

Urge your senator to vote NO on advancing LB 1115 to Select File. Let’s kill this thing and then look to getting the constitution amended in the future.

ACTION ALERT #2: LB 1065, REQUIRING POLL WORKERS TO MATCH VOTER IMAGES ON FILE, REDUCING NUMBER OF PEOPLE ABLE TO VOTE

Dear Activists,

Here we go again. LB 1065, introduced by Senator Murante, has advanced from the Government Committee to General File. I encourage you to contact your senator in opposition to this bill.

Its purported intent is to update poll site equipment, making it easier for poll workers to identify voters coming to vote. But part of it is simply an attempt to impose voter ID rules. Other attempts have failed ever since 2012. Besides mandating the use of electronic poll books (computers), the bill requires a digital image of each voter be part of the listing of the voter. This image would probably be provided by the DMV.

I am including talking points from my testimony (see below) against LB 1065 for your use when you contact your senator. REMEMBER, Contact your Senators as constituents and not as members of the league. Senators give a great deal of weight to hearing from their CONSTITUENTS.

Thank you for taking prompt action on this important attempt to suppress voter rights.

Sherry Miller, President
League of Women Voters of Nebraska

LB 1065 TALKING POINTS

TESTIMONY TO THE GOVERNMENT/MILITARY/VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, FEBRUARY 14, 2018

First, County election offices across Nebraska need updated election equipment now. Implementing an electronic poll book system will take time and money, lots of money. While the electronic system may be an idea to contemplate for upgrading our election systems in the future, 2018 is a crucial midterm election year, which, it is hoped, will bring much renewed voter attention to the process, and 2020 even more so.

Secondly, voters deserve a measure of privacy. Furthermore, facial features can change from one election cycle to another through surgery, accidents, and plain old aging. How often would voters have to re-register to assure compatibility with a digital image? I agree it may be an unlikely scenario, but it could happen, and more than once.

Thirdly, in a time of income shortfall for our state government, why mandate a very expensive measure, costing $2.6 million for the first year and $451,000 for succeeding years.

Fourth, current election systems must be updated in a timely way to meet more immediate needs and not risk their failure while waiting for an electronic system to be put in place.

Please vote no to LB 1065.

Download & Print Our Voting Basics Flier

In keeping with our mission, LWVGO is preparing for Nebraska primaries on May 15 by helping to register and empower voters.

If you’d like to get involved, contact us to find out how you can help nonpartisan voter-registration and get-out-the-vote efforts. You can also request volunteer deputy registrars for events.

You can also help distribute our Voting Basics flier, which covers how to register, look up and verify your registration, how to get a vote-by-mail ballot and more information about voting in Douglas and Sarpy counties.

Oppose Voter ID, an Unnecessary Burden Impacting Seniors and Young Nebraskans

LB 1066, introduced by Sen. Murante last month, infringes upon the right to vote by putting up barriers that would especially impact both older and young Nebraskan voters.

Read LWVNE president Sherry Miller’s testimony against this rights-infringing bill: Miller Testimony Opposing LB 1066.

Contact your state senator today to express your opposition to a burdensome requirement of a photo ID (driver’s licence) with an address that exactly matches voter-registration data.

Find your senator by going to nebraskalegislature.gov and entering your address under Find Your Senator.

Support Gerrymandering-Free Redistricting in Nebraska

Redistricting without gerrymandering: it’s important. Nebraska needs an overhaul of its redistricting process.

We support LB 973 requiring that maps drawn for redistricting are created using state-issued computer software. This proposed law will assure that mapping programs issued by special interest groups of any sort can’t be used in drawing the voter maps for Nebraska.

Let your Senator know you support this legislation, too. Read our letter supporting LB 973.

The Need for Nonpartisan Redistricting in Nebraska – And How You Can Help

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, Geri Simon talks with Nebraska state senator Burke Harr and League of Women Voters member John Else about redistricting. The Nebraska legislature will consider LB216 in 2018. LB 216 would establish a commission to redistrict the state after the 2020 census.

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.

Evelyn Butts, the Supreme Court and the Poll Tax

Tia Spears and Charlene Ligon discuss Charlene’s book about her mother, Evelyn T. Butts. The book is “Fearless,” and it tells the story of Mrs. Butts and her Supreme Court case that ended the poll tax.

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.