Increasing Voter Engagement in the 2021 Elections

DSCN3900

Every year following the presidential election, the City of Omaha holds special elections for the city council and mayor. Local elections, on average, receive less than half of the voter turnout than the presidential elections. Data gleaned from the Douglas County Election Commission’s website shows that in 2017, of the 287,059  registered voters in Omaha, 195,505 voted in the Presidential general election. The following April, 58,784 voted in the local primary election, and 99,688 voted in the general election in May. 

It’s understandable that more people vote in Presidential elections. The election cycles are longer, and they receive more media attention. But since the results of local elections affect our neighborhood development, policing, roads, snow removal, land-use policies, and public transportation, just to name a few issues, what are some things that you can do to increase voter turnout for the upcoming election cycle?

Make sure you are registered to vote, and while you’re at it, make sure one more person is registered to vote.

  • Register online: If you have Nebraska state ID, you can register to vote online here.* The deadline to register online for the primary is March 19th and the deadline to register online for the general election is April 23rd*
  • Register in person: You can also register to vote at the following locations without an ID:
    • At any public library
    • Douglas County Election Commission: 12220 W. Center Rd
  • March 26th is the last day to register to vote in-person at Douglas County Election Commission and be eligible to vote in the Primary election on April 6.
  • April 30th is the last day to register to vote in person at the Douglas County Election Commission and be eligible to vote in the General election on May 11.

Spread the word about important dates and make sure that as many people as possible understand their voting options!

  • Early vote by mail (absentee ballots)
    • You should have received an Early Voting Ballot (EVB) application in the mail that looks like this. Once you have filled it out you have three options to return it:
      • Put it in your mailbox
      • Drop it off at one of the drop boxes located around town. You can find dropbox locations here.
      • Take a picture of it and email it to earlyvoting@votedouglascounty.com
    • If you didn’t receive an application in the mail or didn’t recognize it, you can download the form to apply for an absentee ballot here. Print off the application, fill it out, and return it in any of the three ways listed above. March 26th is the deadline to have your request for a vote by mail ballot post marked or dropped in a drop box.
  • Early vote in person
    • You can vote early at Douglas County Election Commission 12220 W. Center Rd.
      • Early in-person voting dates for the primary election are:
        • March 22nd- April 5th
          • Monday-Friday, 8:30 A.M.-5:00 P.M.
          • Saturday, April 3, 9:00 A.M.- 1:00 P.M.
      • Early voting dates for the general election are:
        • April 26th-May 10th
          • Monday-Friday, 8:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
          • Saturday, May 8th, 9:00 A.M.- 1:00 P.M.
  • Vote on Election Day
    • You can vote on election day from 8:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M. at your polling location. Find your polling location here

If you want to get involved with organization working to get out the vote check out opportunities with Civic Nebraska and Heartland Workers Center

Volunteer for a candidate that you feel represents your interests and help them canvass.

Canvassing neighborhoods for candidates not only spreads awareness about that candidate in particular, but about the elections more generally. Additionally, you have the opportunity to engage prospective voters in a conversation about the issues at hand in this election. 

VOTE!

When we are voting we are not just voting for candidates, but we are voting for our ideas to become a reality. There is a lot we can do after the voting booth to move our ideas forward. But voting is an opportunity to elect a candidate to express our ideals and we should extend that opportunity to as many people as possible. 

  • Important dates for the primary election
    • The last date to register to vote online, by mail, or at a library is March 19th. 
    • You can register to vote in person at Douglas County Election Commission until March 26th.
    • The last date to request a vote by mail (aka absentee) ballot is March 26th by 6:00 PM.
    • Absentee ballots will be mailed out starting March 22nd.
    • The recommended deadline to return your absentee ballot in the mail so that it is received by election day is March 26th.
    • The deadline to return your absentee ballot in a dropbox is at 8 P.M. on April 6th.
    • Dates to early vote at the Douglas County Election Commission 12220 W. Center Rd. are March 26- April 5.
      • Monday-Friday 8:30 A.M.-5:00 P.M. 
      • Saturday, April 3rd, 9:00 A.M.- 1:00 P.M. 
    • Election day is April 6, 8:00 A.M.-8:00 P.M. at your polling location.
  • Important dates for the general election
    • The last date to register to vote is April 23rd by mail, online, or at a library.
    •  You can register in person at Douglas County Election Commission until April 30th.
    • The last date to request a vote by mail ballot is April 30th, 6 P.M.
    • Ballots will be mailed out April 26th-30th. 
    • The recommended deadline to return your absentee ballot by mail so that it is received by election day is May 1st.
    • The deadline to return your absentee ballot in the dropboxes is May 11 at 8 P.M.
    • Dates to early vote at the Douglas County Election Commission 12220 W. Center Rd. are April 26th-May 10th.
      • Monday-Friday 8:30 A.M.-5:30 P.M.
      •  Saturday, May 8th, 9:00 A.M.-1 P.M.
    • Election day is May 11th, 8 A.M.-8 P.M. at your polling location
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on linkedin