The Nebraska legislature is moving to restore the voting rights of Nebraskans who’ve served their time for felony convictions!
Felony disenfranchisement laws are antiquated, have a disgraceful past, and prevent returning Nebraskans from taking part in a core civic responsibility. Not only do these laws have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities but they also have no criminal deterrent or rehabilitative value.
LB20: Restoration of Voting Rights
What would this bill do?
Introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, LB20 would restore the voting rights of Nebraskans who’ve previously been connected of a felony. Even after they’ve served their time, thousands of Nebraskans remain unable to vote until two years after the full completion of their sentence. LB20 removes the two-year waiting period and restores voting rights at the completion of a felony sentence.
Why does this change matter?
Currently, over 7000 people are unable to vote in Nebraska because of the 2-year waiting period. These are tax-paying members of our community who have been denied the ability to have a say in who represents them.
Nebraska is one of only a handful of states that withhold voting rights for an arbitrary number of years after the completion of a sentence. The majority of states either restore voting rights once a person is released from incarceration or after the full completion of a sentence (including probation and parole).
Additionally, it has been shown that pro-social activities like voting can reduce recidivism through greater community engagement. As Nebraska’s prison system continues to strain against an ever-growing population of incarcerated people our state should be taking every opportunity we can to prevent reoffending. Part of that work is engaging formerly incarcerated people in their communities and voting can play an important role.