Nebraska Leaders Testify at National Commission on Voting Rights Hearing

Hearing in Kansas City part of national series to examine state of voting challenges, successes and opportunities for election reform

NE_Appleseed_Icons_Voting-128Nebraska voting rights advocates were among the testifiers at a hearing Monday in Kansas City organized by the National Commission on Voting Rights (NCVR). Voters, community leaders and advocates testified at the hearing about the accessibility of elections in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

Three Nebraskans testified to a Commission of voting rights advocates and election experts including Guest Commissioner Dr. Marty Ramirez, (ret.) Counseling Psychologist, University of Nebraska and community advocate. They discussed a range of topics including: voter registration, election administration (e.g., provisional ballots, polling location issues, and method of elections), and access to the ballot for individuals with disabilities, language minority voters, and communities of color.

Nebraska Advocates

  • Lazaro Spindola, Executive Director, Latino American Commission
  • Vickie Young, President, NAACP Omaha Branch
  • Keely Bassett, Winnebago tribal member

“It is an honor and a privilege to be able to provide testimony during this hearing,” said Lazaro Spindola, executive director of the Latino American Commission.  There are language barriers for voters who do not have full command of the English language.  These barriers steer voters away from exercising their constitutional right and expressing their opinion on the most basic of rights in this great nation.”

The Kansas City event is part of a series of nationwide hearings held to collect evidence on the current landscape of voting and elections in the U.S. Over the past few years, numerous states have enacted restrictive voting laws, while many others continue to grapple with recurring election administration and electoral reform challenges.

“Ensuring fair and equal access to the polling place for all eligible voters is an essential part of the democratic process,” Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould said. “Hearings like today’s panel in Kansas City help identify possible roadblocks to democracy and create solutions that strengthen the integrity of our local, state, and federal elections.”

Guest Commissioners for Monday’s panel:

  • Wendy Noran, Clerk, Boone County Missouri
  • Mary Ratliff, President, Missouri NAACP State Conference
  • Marty Ramirez, (ret.) Counseling Psychologist, University of Nebraska
  • Bill Rich, Professor of Law, Washburn University
  • Marsha Ternus, (ret.) Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court and Attorney at Law

Supporting organizations include:  American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa • American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas • American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri • American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska • Disability Rights Center of Kansas • Disability Rights Iowa • Disability Rights Nebraska • Iowa Citizen Action Network • Latino American Commission • Latinos Unidos of Iowa • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law •  League of Women Voters of Iowa • League of Women Voters of Kansas • LULAC of Iowa • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People • National Action Network • National Lawyers Guild of Kansas City • Nebraska Appleseed • Nebraskans for Civic Reform • University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

The National Commission on Voting Rights, organized by the Lawyers’ Committee on behalf of the civil rights community, is holding hearings across the country to gather testimony about voting rights and election administration problems and opportunities. For more information about the National Commission on Voting Rights, please visit ncvr.lawyerscommittee.org

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