The 2020 General Election is just days away and you may be asking yourself several important questions:
- How can I make sure my early voting ballot is counted?
- Do I know where my polling place is?
- What resources do I have to learn more about the candidates?
Earlier this year, a student-led group helped launch a UNO partnership with TurboVote to help students, faculty, and staff answer these questions - and more - in the lead up to Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3. You can read more about that partnership below, as well as find important election-related deadlines.
As a reminder, you are only eligible to vote in the state that you are registered in. If you have not already submitted a mail-in or absentee ballot, you will want to make sure you know where your appropriate polling place is.
- Students can also find additional important voter information on the UNO website.
- Faculty and staff are encouraged to take advantage of the university's policy, which allows two hours paid leave for civic duties, including voting in public elections if circumstances prevent an employee from voting at any other time.
If you have been following the 2020 election cycle, you may have some of the same questions that many Americans are asking themselves: How do I know if I’m registered vote? Which district do I live in? Where is my polling place? I’m worried about COVID-19, so where can I find out how to vote by mail?
These details are even more important to know now that Nebraska has begun accepting applications for early voting ballots.
Earlier this year, a student-led effort helped bring a dedicated web portal, TurboVote, to help University of Nebraska at Omaha students, faculty, and staff answer many of those questions as they prepare to cast ballots in the lead up to Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Nathan Johnson, one of the students who spearheaded the project earlier this year, said the push to bring the platform was borne out of a desire by students to take disparate campus get-out-the-vote efforts to a higher level.
“In order to take civic engagement at UNO beyond just the scope of a couple student organizations and to bring it to a scale that will allow our campus to engage all of our students,” Johnson said. “One in five students at UNO are not registered to vote and two-thirds of students didn't vote in the 2018 election. While we are better than most campuses, being better is not enough if there is still a gaping problem that needs to be addressed.”
With the global outbreak of COVID-19, TurboVote arrived at UNO at a time when the UNO community may need it the most.
TurboVote officially launched at UNO in late 2019 and the student team of Johnson, Dalton Meister, Bri Full and Kenna Barnes were in the process of raising awareness of the platform before the global outbreak disrupted their plans. With social distancing being a concern at polling places across the country, voting by mail could be a safer avenue for casting ballots. TurboVote will be able to connect the UNO community with the information and guidance they need in order to do so.
“We want to make sure that every student, staff, faculty, and administrator has access to the ability to vote and to understand what this right means and how to protect it,” Meister said. “We wish to empower others to use their vote as their voice in conversations about how we approach the construction and design of our society, as one's vote is one of the most powerful tools that we have to seek social change.”
Nebraska residents should plan to keep the following early voting deadlines in mind between now and Election Day:
- November 2, 2020: Last day to vote early in county election office.
- November 3, 2020: Election Day
A list of other important upcoming dates can be found on the Nebraska Secretary of State’s 2020 election calendar page.
Wednesday, Nov. 4
Led by faculty and staff discussion facilitators, Maverick students, faculty, and staff will have live, virtual spaces to process their emotions, hopes, questions, and concerns alongside those with shared experiences.
Wednesday, Nov. 11
So What Did You Think of the Elections? A National Talk With Students
Join faculty, staff, and students from across the country on November 11 from Noon –1 P.M. CT for a national discussion to debrief and discuss the 2020 Elections. Designed to reach across differences and create a space for discourse, this national facilitated dialogue is based on the fundamental value of the pursuit of knowledge for the public good.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.