How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in Nebraska

Posted on 08/31/23 by Jessica Ravitz, Natalie Missakian

En español | Nebraska is a no-excuse state, meaning any voter can request an absentee ballot without a reason. In November 2022, Nebraskans passed a constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo ID when casting ballots.

The 2024 elections will decide races for seats in the U.S. House and Senate, state senate, state supreme court and other statewide executive offices.

  • Upcoming elections: Visit the secretary of state’s website for information about statewide elections when it becomes available.
  • Absentee voting: Any registered voter can request an early voting (absentee) ballot, no reason or excuse required.
  • Early in-person voting: This option starts 30 days before a primary or general election and ends the day before Election Day.
  • Voting at the polls: Nebraskans will be asked to show an acceptable photo ID to cast a ballot, starting with the May 14, 2024 statewide primary.

Under a 2023 law, voters will be asked to show an acceptable photo ID when voting, starting with the May 14, 2024, statewide primary. Nebraska voters approved a constitutional amendment in November 2022 calling for the change.

Redistricting in 2021 changed certain boundaries of some state legislative and U.S. congressional districts and may affect which candidates appear on your ballot. 

  • Online: If you have a current, unexpired driver’s license or a state ID card issued by Nebraska, use the state’s online voter registration portal. Register online no later than the third Friday before Election Day.
  • By mail: Print out the voter registration application from the secretary of state’s website or pick one up at any Department of Motor Vehicles office or at most libraries, post offices and state public assistance offices. Mail the completed application to your county election office. First-class postage is required. If you're registering for the first time by mail, you must include a copy of either a current photo ID or a recent utility bill, bank statement or government document showing your name and address. A full list of acceptable forms of ID is in the secretary of state's voter registration guide. Applications must be postmarked no later than the third Friday before the election.
  • In person: Visit your county election office no later than 6 p.m. on the second Friday before the election, or register when renewing or applying for a driver’s license at the DMV. Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education also let you register when filing new applications, renewals, recertifications and changes of address.

Check and update your registration information by visiting Nebraska’s voter information center.

Yes, in partisan elections. When voting in a partisan primary, those affiliated with a political party can only vote using their party’s ballot. However, political parties can decide before each election whether to open their primaries to nonpartisan (unaffiliated) voters. 

Any registered Nebraska voter can request an early voting (absentee) ballot; no reason is required.

The early voting ballot application can be downloaded online, picked up at your county election office or requested through the office by mail, fax, email or phone.

Starting with the May 14, 2024, primary, you’ll need to write your Nebraska driver’s license or state ID number on your ballot application or enclose a copy of your photo ID when applying. Voters with an acceptable reason for not having the required ID should include a “reasonable impediment certification” form with their ballot request.

Mail, email, fax or drop off your early voting ballot application to your county election office. It must be received by 6 p.m. on the second Friday before the election.

Find more information about the early voting ballot process on the secretary of state’s website.

To cast your completed absentee or early voting ballot, it must be returned to your county election office by the close of polls on Election Day. You or anyone acting on your behalf as an “agent” can mail the ballot, bring it into your county election office or place it in a secure drop box at your county election office or another location, if applicable.

Drop boxes should be available 24/7 up until the close of the polls on election night, but check with your county election office to confirm availability. Use the Nebraska Drop Box Locator to find a drop box near you.

Yes. Use Nebraska's online voter portal to track your absentee ballots.

Yes, at your county election office starting 30 days before a primary or general election and ending the day before Election Day. Hours may vary by location.

Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. MT. You must vote at your designated polling place, which can be found via the state's online voter information center or by contacting your county election office.

If you live in a county that does all-mail voting, meaning there are no polling places, you should be able to cast a ballot in person at your county election office.

Yes. Starting with the May 14, 2024, primary, Nebraska voters must show a photo ID when casting ballots in special or statewide elections.

A variety of photo IDs — including Nebraska driver’s licenses, military and tribal IDs, and hospital, assisted living and nursing home records — will be accepted, even if they’re expired. Or you can get a free state ID for voting from the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles. Find a full list of acceptable IDs on the Nebraska secretary of state’s website.

If you forget to bring your ID, you can vote using a provisional ballot. You must bring a valid photo ID to your county election office on or before the Tuesday after the election for your vote to count.

Voters with a “reasonable impediment” — such as an illness, disability, lack of birth certificate or a religious objection to being photographed — can vote without an ID but must fill out additional paperwork.

For more information, visit the secretary of state’s website or read Nebraska’s voter ID law brochure.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Aug. 31, 2023, with additional details about Nebraska's new voter ID law. The guide was first published on Aug. 3, 2020.

This story is provided by AARP Nebraska. Visit the AARP Nebraska page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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