Student Voting Guide | Nebraska

August 15, 2014

This student voting guide explains the laws for the state of Nebraska. If you wish to vote from your school address, check the student voting guide for the state where you attend school. If you want to cast an absentee ballot in your home state, check the student voting guide for that state.

The Brennan Center is committed to giving students as much information as possible to help you exercise your constitutional right to vote. More than ever in recent history, changes to voting laws are being implemented in ways that can affect your ability to make your vote count. In addition to the content you will find in this Student Voting Guide, we continue to track passed and pending voting law changes here. While we are working to give you up-to-date information, we urge you to be proactive! In order to ensure you have all the information you need before casting your vote, you should also check with your state and local election officials for information about additional requirements or regulations.

This voting guide was last updated August 15, 2014.

Registration

You may register to vote either in person, by mail, or through a voter registration drive in Nebraska if you are 18 or will be 18 by the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (generally, by the next election).[1] You can register for and vote in a primary election so long as you will turn 18 the general election in November.[2]

In-person registration ends on the second Friday before Election Day.[3] Mail-in forms must be postmarked by the third Friday preceding Election Day.[4] Please note that if you move to a different county within Nebraska, you must update your address or re-register by the registration deadline in order to keep your registration active.[5]

If you have been convicted of a felony, it may impact your ability to vote.[6] If you think you might be affected, you should contact your local election officials.

Residency

To establish voting residency in Nebraska, you must have a “settled connection” with your Nebraska residential address and consider it your permanent and principal home.[7]  Your place of residency is where you intend to return after being away.[8]  You do not need to intend to remain at this address indefinitely.[9]

At School. Students can establish voting residency in Nebraska if they have a present intention to remain at their Nebraska school address for the time being, and they intend to make it their principal home.[10] Any other interpretation of the residency laws is unconstitutional. Students who consider their school community their principal residence should not have a problem registering and voting.[11]

At Home. Students who lived in Nebraska prior to attending school and who wish to establish or keep their Nebraska voting residency (i.e., at their parents’ address), should have no problem doing so unless they have already registered to vote in another state.[12] Like most states, Nebraska allows students to keep their voting residency even if they move out of the county or state to attend school. You will lose this residency if you assert residency in a new state.[13] If you have established residency in another state and are moving back to Nebraska with the intent to reside here, you will need to follow the normal registration procedures to re-register at home. If you move to a different county within Nebraska, you must update your address or re-register in order to retain your eligibility to vote.[14]

Voting in Nebraska may be considered a declaration of residency, potentially making you subject to other laws that govern state residents.

Challenges to Residency. You have the right to cast a ballot as a student in Nebraska regardless of whether you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. Your eligibility to vote based on residency can be challenged at the polls by any poll worker or registered voter.[15]  If your eligibility is challenged, you will be asked to swear an oath to answer questions accurately and complete a form asking if you have a residence in the state, county, and precinct, and may be asked other questions to test your eligibility.[16] After you have answered those questions, if the poll worker determines that you are eligible to vote, you will be allowed to vote a regular ballot.[17] If the poll worker is unable to determine your eligibility, you will still be able to vote a provisional ballot,[18] which will be counted if the election commissioner later confirms your eligibility to vote.[19]

Any challenge made solely on the basis of your student or tuition status is invalid.

Identification

Only first-time Nebraska voters who register by mail and do not have their identity verified by the state must provide ID, either when voting in person or by submitting a copy of their ID with their absentee ballot. (Usually, your identity will be verified if you provide your driver’s license or last four digits of your social security number on your registration form.) Sufficient proof of identity includes any current and valid photo ID, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.  If you do not have ID, you can vote by provisional ballot.[20] Your provisional vote will be counted if the state can verify your eligibility to vote.[21]

Absentee Voting

All registered voters are allowed to vote absentee in Nebraska, for any reason.[22] Nebraska also calls absentee voting “early voting.” You must apply for an absentee ballot, and can download and print the application here. In order to receive a mail-in ballot, the county must receive your application form no later than 4:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before Election Day.[23] You may deliver your application to the county elections office either in person, by fax, or by mail.[24]

Your absentee ballot must be received by your local election office by the close of polls on Election Day in order to be counted.[25]  You may deliver your ballot to the county elections office either in person or by mail. If you mail your ballot be sure to mail it early enough that it will be received by Election Day.

Early Voting

Nebraska has early voting at county offices, in addition to the above-described mail option, beginning 30 days before an election and ending on the Monday before Election Day.[26] Early voting application forms are available on the Secretary of State’s website and at the county elections office. You may fill in the application at the early voting location. At your county elections office, you can vote any precinct’s ballot for that county. You should check with your county elections office for the exact dates, times, and locations for early voting.

Last Updated August 15, 2014


[1] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-110.

[2] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-110.

[3] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-302.

[4] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-321(3).

[5] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-314(2).

[6] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-313.

[7] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-116.

[8] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-116.

[9] Swan v. Bowker, 281 N.W. 891 (Neb. 1938); Berry v. Wilcox, 62 N.W. 249, 251 (Neb. 1895).

[10] See Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 330 (1972); Williams v. Salerno, 792 F.2d 323, 328 (2d Cir. 1986).

[11] Student Voters, Neb. Sec’y of State, http://www.sos.ne.gov/elec/studentvoters.html.

[12] Student Voters, Neb. Sec’y of State,

[13] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-314(1).

[14] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-314(2).

[15] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-926.

[16] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-927.

[17] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-929.

[18] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-929.

[19] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-1002. 

[20] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 32-318.01(1)(d), 32-1002.

[21] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-1002.

[22] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-942. 

[23] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-941.

[24] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-941.

[25] Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-950.

[26] Voter Information Frequently Asked Questions, Neb. Sec’y of State, http://www.sos.ne.gov/elec/voter_info.html#early.