Accessible Voting

This guidance document is advisory in nature but is binding on an agency until amended by such agency. A guidance document does not include internal procedural documents that only affect the internal operations of the agency and does not impose additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties or include confidential information or rules and regulations made in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. If you believe that this guidance document imposes additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties, you may request a review of the document.

Accessible Voting

Nebraskans Vote

 

All Registered Voters In Nebraska Have Certain Rights.

  • The right to a ballot with written instructions on how to cast the ballot.
  • The right to cast your vote in secret and free from intimidation.
  • The right to receive up to four ballots if a mistake is made when marking your ballot.
  • The right to ask the Receiving Board procedural questions on how to cast your ballot.
  • The right to request assistance from the person of your choice or two members of the Receiving Board.
  • The rights to obtain assistance while casting your ballot if you cannot write, see the ballot, or understand the language in which it is written.
  • The right to bring written materials into the voting booth to assist you as you cast the ballot.
  • The right to report possible voting rights abuse to the Secretary of State or to your local election official.
  • The right to cast a provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the list of registered voters.
  • The right to vote early by filling out an application and returning it to your county election office.
  • The right to file an administrative complaint with the Secretary of State concerning violations of federal and state voting procedures.
     

Services Available in Nebraska to Voters with Special Needs

The State of Nebraska has made groundbreaking efforts to increase ballot accessibility for all voters, including elderly voters, voters with disabilities, voters who do not read or speak English, voters residing in assisted living centers, long-term facilities or who are hospitalized.

  • State law provides that all polling places must meet strict accessibility standards.
  • If you find it difficult or are unable to vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day, you may choose to vote at a more convenient time and location, such as:
    • voting early in person at the county election office , or
    • applying to have ballots sent to your home, your hospital room, assisted living residence or long-term care address, or
    • by having an agent apply for your ballots and deliver them to you at your home, hospital or long-term care facility.
  • 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.
  • 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.
     

Accessible Voting in Nebraska

  • The Help America Vote Act requires states to provide voters with a practical and effective means to cast an independent and secret ballot. Voting must be accessible to voters with physical disabilities and must accommodate these disabilities: no vision, low vision, no hearing, low hearing, limited manual dexterity, limited reach, limited strength, no mobility, low mobility or any combination of the foregoing (except the combination of no hearing and no vision).
  • Prior to the 2006 statewide elections every polling place in each of Nebraska’s 93 counties received an AutoMARK for use by voters with disabilities.
  • The AutoMARK uses ballot-marking technology allowing voters with disabilities and other special needs to mark optical scan ballots privately and independently.
  • Key features of the AutoMARK™ include:
    • an audio function with headset and earphones allowing voters with impaired vision to listen to choices.
    • a zoom feature enables voters to increase the font size of type for any and all races listed on the optical scan ballot
    • a sip/puff tube for voters who are not able to use the touch screen or touch pad.
    • a multi-language capability ensuring all citizens can exercise their privilege to vote
    • the ability to support casting a vote for write-in candidates
       

All Polling Places in Nebraska Must Be Accessible

The State of Nebraska has consistently worked with counties and their polling places to comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities) standards ensuring accessibility to persons who are elderly or physically disabled. The regulations include standards for the parking area, the walkway, the entrance and/or exit; accessing the voting area, the booths and voting area and assistance for voters.

  • 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.
     

Other Assistance Available to Nebraska Voters at the Polls

  • Posted voter instructions;
  • Signs urging voters to alert poll workers if assistance is needed
  • Assistance with reading or marking the ballot by a judge of the Receiving Board;
  • Assistance from the voter’s designee with reading or marking the ballot;
  • Magnifiers and signature guides
  • Chairs if a voter needs to be seated
  • Pen and paper for hearing or speech impaired voters
  • Curbside voting – ballots 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.
     

Acts Prohibited in Nebraska

  • A person may not try to influence your vote with threats or bribery.
  • A person may not add to, delete or change any information from how it appears on your ballot.
  • A person may not mark your ballot other than the way you have asked for.
  • A person may not tell anyone how you voted.
  • A person may not carry a concealed weapon into any polling place during bona fide elections.

 

Persons may call the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office Election Division

Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (888) 727-0007 (toll free) or (402) 471-2555 to report problems