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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