It is as organizations and members of this community and state that we are unified in a vision for a democracy where access to our fundamental right to vote is unimpeded and all Nebraskans, regardless of their background and geographic location, have equal access to the polls. The right to vote is fundamental and our state constitution requires that it be unimpeded.

Community groups in Omaha have been working diligently to register and educate voters, encourage higher voter turnout, and highlight the negative impact of recent polling place closures in Douglas County.

The Reader’s recent disclosure of emails from Douglas County Election Commissioner David Phipps and others implicates Mr. Phipps in crafting legislation LB 449 which resulted in the closure of an unprecedented number of polling places this year, created barriers to voting, and caused widespread confusion of voters during the primary and the General Election. The emails also reveal Mr. Phipps and other state leaders joking and reveling about their behind-the-scenes work in the crafting and passage of LB 449. “Evil mastermind behind this operation” is how Mr. Phipps is described in one email.

As a community and a coalition of a cross-section of organizations which promote and defend democracy, we are dismayed about the implications of an election commissioner’s involvement in such legislation.  This would be an affront to our democratic process and an affront to the impartiality and fairness that is expected from public officials holding such positions.

We call upon Nebraska’s elected officials charged with enforcing state election statutes to launch a full and impartial investigation into this matter.

We also call upon the Legislature to bring accountability and impartiality to Nebraska elections by requiring that the office of an election commissioner be an elected one – one that will be held accountable to the people it serves.

ACLU-Nebraska
Heartland Workers Center
Inclusive Communities
Latino Center of the Midlands
NAACP/Black Men United
Nebraska Appleseed
Nebraskans for Civic Reform
Progressive Research Institute
VOICE Omaha