Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 will be upon us in just a few short weeks.
If you have a felony record, but have been off paper (no longer on probation or parole) for two years, you are eligible to register to vote NOW! Or, if you or someone you know is currently 17, but will turn 18 on or before election day, they are also eligible to register to vote NOW!
Because of the pandemic, this election season is unusual, but not unprecedented. In 1918, the Spanish Flu outbreak was crossing the country. On the east coast, where the pandemic was waning, churches and schools were reopened just days before the midterm elections. On the west coast, all poll workers and voters were required to wear masks. Based partially on the pandemic, voter turnout was low, but U. S. involvement in WWI also impacted voter turnout. AND remember, women did not yet have the right to vote!
The right to vote has not come easily for everyone in this country. Disenfranchised segments of our population, (most notably women, non-whites, and those with felony convictions), have been fighting for the right to vote practically since the beginning of this country’s existence. In 1787, the U. S. Constitutional Convention placed voting rights into the hands of the states; and since that time, there has been one battle or another going on over voting rights.
You may hear complaints that individual votes don’t count because of the Electoral College process, which doesn’t accurately reflect the will of the people. However, the only race that the Electoral College has any power over is the presidential election. There are so many other items on the ballot.
For instance, in Nebraska, we have amendments to our State Constitution on the ballot. When the Legislature proposes a constitutional amendment, they can vote to put it before the voters. We the People have the power to change things that we believe are wrong or maintain things that we believe are right. This November, we will be asked to vote on Nebraska Amendment 1, the Remove Slavery as Punishment for Crime from Constitution Amendment. Since 1875, the Nebraska Constitution has prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude – but with one exception. There is a loophole allowing slavery and involuntary servitude when used as punishment for those convicted of crimes. Amendment 1 would remove the language that refers to slavery. Wouldn’t you like to have a voice in how our constitution is worded? You can!
You can also vote for who will represent our state and be our voice both in Nebraska and in Washington, which judges should or should not be retained in districts across the state, and for other elected officials who protect our state resources and guide our educational services.
- October 5th – Early voting begins
- October 16th – Deadline to register to vote
- November 3rd – Deadline for absentee and mail-in voting
Ballots can be dropped in the drop-boxes at your County Election Offices. You can track when your ballot was sent, returned, and its status at the Voter Information Center. This link will also direct you to your polling place should you prefer in-person voting.
PLEASE VOTE on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. It is not only your right, it is a privilege!