Power of Participation: Building a strong democracy with every vote

Energized. Proud. Inspired. 

This is what we envision when we see a strong democracy centered around community power. Together with partner organizations Unity in Action in South Sioux City, Centro Hispano in Columbus, Native Futures in Alliance, and Empowering Families in Scottsbluff, as well as local leaders from Lexington, Crete, and SOMOSgi in Grand Island — we contacted more than 19,000 rural voters of color in 8 communities across the state, from Scottsbluff to South Sioux! Together, we coordinated more than 60 statewide volunteers and held more than 2,300 direct conversations with voters!

We’ve seen high voter turnout even in the midst of a global pandemic, with more people casting their votes than ever before! Nebraska voters overwhelmingly supported ending the predatory debt cycle of payday loans by passing Initiative 428, capping lending rates at 36%, a significant step in building a path that leads Nebraskans out of poverty. 

Statewide immigrant and Native American leaders and grassroots organizational partners found inspiring and creative ways to get out the vote! Hear directly from some of them as they share how they built power in participation throughout their communities.

Power of Participation Slideshow

Click the arrows to see the photos from our partners!

“In addition to safely distanced canvassing and phone banking reaching hundreds of Latinx and Native American voters in Scottsbluff, we held a first bilingual candidate forum that reached 4,300 people in our county. All the candidates attended and we heard later from voters, ‘Thanks to the forum, I had information about all the candidates and what my voting options were!’ Through our canvassing, we also increased our long-term community connections, which added 70 new followers on social media.” – Valeria Rodriguez with Empowering Families

“A Dawson County voter asked if they could put me on speakerphone so the whole family could listen and ask questions about voting!” – Gabby Pérez of Lexington.

Centro Hispano Team

“We are grateful for our volunteers, who are community leaders of Columbus! With the help of our volunteers, we hosted a flu shot clinic serving over 100 individuals, allowing us to reach more people to share voter information, including general information about Nebraska’s Medicaid expansion. We also focused on the power of local relationships and building community with one-on-one conversations; registering new voters at our local YMCA. It was great to see our volunteers and staff at every polling place offering interpretation to assure everyone felt welcomed.” – Karina Perez with Centro Hispano

“In South Sioux City, we safely distributed over 350 tote bags at schools, churches, and other community events. In addition to getting the word out through social media, videos, and phone banking, we created a billboard in Spanish to encourage the immigrant and Latino community to vote! We coordinated a candidate questionnaire for running commissioners with a race-equity focus, and we offered election-night rides to the polls and gave out ‘Kind’ protein bars to energize people to vote!” – Olga Guevara with Unity in Action

“From summer through the fall we did continuous education on census and voting at our local drive-in movie theater. We also handed out over 200 bags of voter information during the downtown trick or treat event in Alliance.” – Edison Red Nest III with Native Futures

Yolanda Nuncio with SOMOSgi

“In Grand Island, we reached over 5,000 people with the power of social media and video engagement! We also passed out information on voting in Grand Island and Hastings. On the day of the election, we offered interpretation and transportation to voters in our communities. We had five drivers ready to go, with safety measures in place to keep our drivers and passengers safe.” – Yolanda Nuncio with SOMOSgi

“So many individuals returned our phone calls and reached out to us for information on voting, including stopping to talk to us at the bank, Walmart and the Mexican store.” – Fabiola Dimas of Crete

“A Hall County voter said he was ‘waiting for my call’ to ask how he could vote early since he is a truck driver and needed to be on the road on Election Day.” – Vanessa Martinez with Nebraska Appleseed

Voting is one of the primary ways to ensure Nebraska has leaders who share our values and speak with us when important decisions must be made. Now, we must continue building our democracy after election day.

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Call Party with Empowering Families

Congratulations to all the Nebraska community organizations, volunteers, and voters for making a huge difference – Nebraska is strongest when all eligible voters are engaged and use their power to vote!

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