FELONY DISENFRANCHISEMENT IN NEBRASKA

 

 

 

“There is no meaningful policy justification for felony disenfranchisement.

It is a policy with an undeniably nefarious and racist history that continues to

have negative impacts on everyone, with a disproportionate effect on Black

and Brown voters.” “Nebraska is one of only four states to disenfranchise all

felonies for a period of time beyond a person’s sentence. The state’s policy

remains one of the most extreme in the country.”

Taken from the Civic Nebraska website:

https://www.civicnebraska.org/voting-rights/felony-disenfranchise/

History:  Nebraska adopted lifetime disenfranchisement (deprived of the right to vote) in 1875 during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War.  In 2005 the legislature established the current two year waiting period.  In 2017 the legislature passed a bill to eliminate the waiting period, but it was vetoed by Gov. Pete Ricketts.  A similar bill was introduced in 2018 and in 2020, but neither advanced from committee to be voted on by the legislature.  LB 158 was introduced in January 2021 and will be considered by the legislature in the session starting January 5, 2022.

 

Why the Side With Love Social Justice Team supports LB 158:

When a person has completed the sentence imposed by the court for commission of a felony, the sooner the person can participate fully again in society, the less likely they are to commit another crime.  At the very least, restoring to that person the right to vote will encourage them to be engaged in their community. The two year waiting period restricts a person’s constitutional right without cause and is taxation without representation.  Punishing a person by restricting their constitutional right for a period beyond their sentence is a holdover from the days of blocking people of color from voting and should be eliminated.  In 2020, this law disenfranchised 10% of the Black voting age population in Nebraska. https://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Locked-Out-2020.pdf#page=16

 

What can you do:

  1. Contact Senator Justin Wayne, the sponsor of LB 158 to eliminate Nebraska’s two-year waiting period and encourage him to make this his priority bill in the upcoming Unicameral session that convenes in January.   Let him know you too care deeply about this issue!

  2. Contact the following members of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, in the following order of priority and encourage their support for LB 158: Senators Brewer, Halloran, Lowe and Sanders.

Contact Information for all Nebraska State Senators’ Contact Information: https://nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_list.php

 

Lookup to find your Nebraska State Senator: https://nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_find.php

 

To read LB 158:  https://nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID=43690.  Check out the testimony in the Government Hearing held on Feb. 24, 2021.

 

Click here for more information on LB 158

Click here for more information about felony disenfranchisement and

https://www.civicnebraska.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210201-Felony-Disenfranchisement.pdf

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