LINCOLN, Neb. – The ACLU of Nebraska welcomes forward momentum on a bill that would restore Nebraskans’ right to vote immediately after they complete terms of a felony sentence rather than the current two-year waiting period.
Today, LB158 was placed on General File with strong support across the political spectrum from the Nebraska Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
The new progress at voting rights restoration comes after an ACLU of Nebraska investigation found that mistakes and confusion over Nebraska’s law had caused election officials to send disqualification notices to Nebraskans who should not have received them.
ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad said passing LB158 is the right thing to do.
“Let’s be clear: our arbitrary law and confusion around that law are disenfranchising Nebraskans and it’s Black Nebraskans who are impacted the most,” Conrad said. “Returning citizens deserve to have a say in our democracy. Voter restoration reduces recidivism and strengthens democracy. We are ready to do all we can to help this important bill become law.”
In 2017, state senators passed a similar voter restoration bill but were unable to override Gov. Ricketts’ veto. Today, Nebraska is one of just 11 states that impose a special requirement or waiting period for people to restore their voting rights after serving their sentence according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Voting rights are a major focus for the ACLU of Nebraska. The civil rights organization offers information on current and formerly incarcerated Nebraskans’ voting rights on its website and has sent voting rights information to incarcerated Nebraskans at county jails for each election since the 2020 primary.