Nebraska Resources for Voters with Disabilities

What are my rights as a voter with a disability in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, you have the right to the following as protected by federal law. Election staff must be trained on and respect these rights:

  • Accessible voter registration
  • Accessible polling places 
  • Policies and procedures that do not discriminate against you based on your disability
  • Accessible, available, and operational voting systems, features
  • Your service animal to accompany you inside the polling place
  • The right to vote privately and independently or with assistance, if needed
  • Assistance from a person of choice, who can be a friend, family member, or poll worker (but not your boss, union agent or someone who has authority over you at work)

In Nebraska, you also have the right to:  

  • A ballot with written instructions on how to cast it.
  • Cast your vote privately and free from intimidation.
  • Receive up to four ballots if you make a mistake.
  • Ask procedural questions on how to cast your ballot.
  • Request assistance from a person of your choice or two members of the Receiving Board.
  • Obtain assistance while casting your ballot if you are disabled.
  • Bring written materials into the voting booth.
  • Report possible voting rights violations to the Secretary of State or to your local election official.
  • Cast a provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the list of registered voters.
  • Vote early, when applicable.
  • File a complaint with the Secretary of State concerning possible violations of voting procedures.
Who can register to vote in Nebraska?

To register to vote in Nebraska, you must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 18 or will be turning 18 on or before Election Day 
  • A resident of Nebraska

If you are a student, unhoused, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you may still register and vote.

In Nebraska, you may not register or vote if you:

  • Have been declared mentally incompetent, unless your right has been restored 
  • Are convicted of a felony, while incarcerated, while on probation or parole, and for two (2) years after you complete your full sentence. 
  • You claim the right to vote elsewhere

Register to vote now if you are eligible!

What are my rights when registering to vote in Nebraska?

Federal law requires assistance in registering to vote from offices that provide public assistance or state-funded programs serving people with disabilities. Responsibilities of these offices include:

  • Providing voter registration forms
  • Assisting voters in completing the forms
  • Transmitting completed forms to the appropriate election official
  • All aspects of voter registration must be accessible
What are the different ways to vote in Nebraska ?
  • In person on Election Day
  • Absentee without excuse 
  • Early voting
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  • Provisional ballot at a polling place
  • Certain elections may be held by mail only
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Nebraska?

Any registered voter may request an absentee (early-voting) ballot in Nebraska. You can apply for an absentee ballot by:

Request an absentee ballot now or contact your local election official to find out how to get an accessible ballot.

How is the Nebraska mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

If you need an alternative ballot, please contact your local election official.

What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in Nebraska?

Federal law requires polling places to meet minimum compliance standards for individuals with special needs. 

  • The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 (VAEHA) requires accessible polling places in federal elections for elderly individuals and people with disabilities. Where no accessible location is available to serve as a polling place, voters must be provided an alternate means of voting in person on Election Day.
     
  • The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires at least one accessible voting system for persons with disabilities at each polling place in federal elections.  The accessible voting system must provide the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence, that other voters receive. 

Nebraska also has the following requirements for accessible polling places:

  • If you are in need of assistance in reading or marking your ballot, you may request assistance from election officials, or you may choose a friend to help you vote. 
  • If you do not understand the language spoken at the polling place or in which the ballot is written, you may use an interpreter at the polling place or place where you are voting. 
  • If you go to the polling place but are physically unable to enter the polling place, you may remain in your vehicle and vote curbside
    • ballots will be brought to the voter’s car, parked within 1 block of the polling place, by one judge and one clerk of Receiving Board representing different parties
       
  • If you have a hearing impairment, voters may contact the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office TTY at 402-471-7229 for answers to their questions.
  • The parking area must have a level hard-surfaced area with at least one marked van accessible handicap parking stall.
  • Curbs next to the main entrances at polling place must have curb-cuts or ADA standard permanent or temporary non-slip ramps
  • An unobstructed 36” wide level walkway free from grates, cracks and overhangs
  • An accessible entrance without steps or ADA approved sloped ramp at least 32” wide with lever hardware or automatic openers.
  • Access to the voting area must be at least 36” wide, free of protruding objects free of rugs or mats which alter the level by more than 1/2”
  • The voting area must have at least 1 handicap accessible booth and 1 AutoMARK available for voters to use. 
  • Posted voter instructions
  • Signs urging voters to alert poll workers if assistance is needed
  • Magnifiers and signature guides
  • Chairs if a voter needs to be seated
  • Pen and paper for hearing or speech impaired voters

If you want to check that your polling location meets these standards or find an alternative polling location, contact your local election official.

If you are unable to stand in line, you can:

  • Request to be moved to the front of the line or refuse to be moved to the front of the line
  • Request that a chair be provided or refuse to accept a chair
  • Request to have your place in line held and notified when it is your turn
What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Nebraska?
  • You may request assistance from a poll worker or receive assistance from a person of your choice with the following exceptions:  
    • your employer, an agent of your employer
    • an officer or agent of your union
       
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment prior to Election Day?

Nebraska uses the AutoMARK voting system.  You can learn more about the system by watching this video.  Features provided by AutoMARK include:

  • An audio functional with headset and earphones
  • A zoom feature to increase the font size of type on your ballot
  • A sip/puff tube
  • Multi-language capability
  • The ability to support casting a vote for write-in candidates

Contact your local election official to preview a sample ballot and practice using accessible voting equipment.

Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in Nebraska?

You may file a complaint with the Secretary of State using a Nebraska HAVA Complaint Form. 

  • The completed form must be signed and notarized before submitting it to:

                  Secretary of State
                  P.O. Box 94608f
                  Lincoln, NE 68509-4608

  • You may indicate on the form if you want a hearing on the record regarding your complaint.  If you do, the process will follow the steps outlined in Nebraska’s guide for the complaint procedure.

You can also fill out a Violation of Civil Rights Complaint Form and submit it to the US Department of Justice by one of the following methods:

  • Online, through the form’s submission process - this is the fastest method.
  • By fax at (202) 616-9881. You MUST include “ATTN: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints" at the top of your fax submission for it to be processed correctly.
  • By mailing your form to: 

                 U.S. Department of Justice
                 Office of the Inspector General Investigations Division
                 ATTN: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
                 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
                 Washington, DC 20530

For additional assistance, The National Network of ADA Centers can provide local contact information for other organizations you may wish to contact, including your Regional ADA Center or ADA Knowledge Translation Center, or Federal Agencies and Resources.