As you probably know (or have guessed from all the phone calls, mailers, text messages, television ads, and the 17-or-so Presidential debates), it’s election season!
“Election season” means different things to different people. For Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska (PPAN), it means making sure patients, supporters, and the community have access to affordable sexual and reproductive health care. The best way to do this is to get people to the polls and get out the vote.
Voting isn’t just a civic duty, or some tedious ritual to engage in every so often: voting is the means by which communities determine their own futures.
PPAN’s commitment to empowering and strengthening communities shows up in different ways. One of the most powerful ways of accomplishing this mission is by registering people to vote and supporting them to make their voices heard through the ballot box.
The following information covers what you need to register (or check and update your registration), how to complete an application to vote by mail (the safest way to vote this year), and some nifty tips.
You Can Vote by Mail in Nebraska
Because of COVID-19, there is a lot of interest in early voting, or vote by mail. To have an early voting ballot mailed to your house, access the application on the Secretary of State website. You can fill it out, scan it, and send it in digitally. Or, you can print it off and mail it in to your county election office.
Key Nebraska Election Dates
- April 13: Early voting begins. If you have already submitted your application and received your ballot, this is the earliest it can be turned in.
- April 24: Deadline to register to vote by mail or online. See below for steps to register to vote.
- May 1: Last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Also, last day to register to vote in person.
- May 11: Vote by mail and early voting deadline.
- May 12: Primary Election Day. Polls are still scheduled to open at 8 a.m. CT (7 a.m. MT) and close at 8 p.m. CT (7 p.m. MT). Early voting ballots can be picked up by another person on your behalf no later than 7 p.m. CT (6 p.m. MT). Mailed and in-person early voting ballots must be received by the county election office no later than 8 p.m. CT (7 p.m. MT).
How to Vote in the Primaries
Step 1: Register to Vote OR Update Your Registration
April 24 – May 1
If you don’t know if you’re registered, have moved recently, want to change parties, or even just want to make sure everything is copacetic, check your registration on the Nebraska Secretary of State website! From there you can find answers to burning questions, make sure everything on your registration is correct, and—best of all—register to vote!
- You must be 18 years or older (if you turn 18 on or before November 3, 2020, you can still register to vote in the 2020 election).
- You will need either a social security number or driver’s license/state identification.
- If you want to vote by mail, you will have to request an application.
Already registered but recently moved or changed parties?Update your voter registration now
Step 2: Find Your Polling Place
Prior to May 11
Once you submit or update your registration you should get a handy little card in the mail that confirms your information, party affiliation, and polling location. Polling location is especially important, so if you’re unsure check your polling location is on the Secretary of State's site .
Step 3: Fill Out Your Ballot
On or by May 12
This is the fun part: voting! Okay, we can get excited about elections, so maybe you won’t find it as thrilling as we do. But voting is the opportunity where we get to be heard. Every vote counts, and as tempting as it can be to surrender to cynicism, the truth is that even one vote can decide an election! (Side note: don’t sleep on your local races…they make all the difference.)
Before You Go
Respond to the Census
Did you know the census is taking place right now? Just like voting, filling out the census is so important to shaping the future of Nebraska for the next decade. We are already facing leaders who want to tighten the budget, especially at the cost of health care, the vulnerable communities, and education. The census determines where hundreds of billions in federal funding every year are allocated. Losing census funds would only exacerbate the problem and lead to more cuts to vital programs.
If you still haven’t filled out your census form, we have good news: there’s still time! Even better news: you can do it online now from the comfort of your couch (or whichever throne is your preferred place to fill out government documents).
To fill out your census, visit my2020census.gov then click Start Questionnaire. If you have your household ID (it would have come in the mail) you can enter it to make the process a little quicker. Otherwise, click “If you do not have a Census ID, click here” under the login button.
You can also call the Census Bureau and fill it out over the phone (with language support!) at 800-923-8282.
Act from Anywhere
We know this is a challenging, anxious, and stressful time for everyone. We really want to be a support to you. If you’re looking for ways to get involved, or something to do while self-isolating (phone banks, text banks, letters-to-the-editor, postcards, donations, etc.), please contact us.
Jon Marx - Advocacy Strategist – NE 3rd Congressional District
[email protected] | 402-705-6365
Claire Wiebe - Advocacy Strategist – NE 2nd Congressional District
[email protected] | 402-557-6683
Lauren Williams - Advocacy Strategist – NE 1st Congressional District
[email protected] | 402-441-3327