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.
Nebraska residents should plan to keep the following early voting deadlines in mind between now and Election Day:
- September 28, 2020: Early voting ballots begin to be mailed out.
- October 5, 2020: Early voting in county election offices begin.
- October 23, 2020: Last day to request a ballot to be mailed to you.
- November 2, 2020: Last day to vote early in county election office.
- November 3, 2020: Election Day
It was also recently announced that all Douglas County voters will automatically receive early-voting applications in the mail in late July.
Not registered to vote? Visit the Nebraska Secretary of State website to begin the process.
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.”
A list of important upcoming dates can be found on the Nebraska Secretary of State’s 2020 election calendar page.
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.