OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — This week, the Nebraska legislators are working to redraw the state’s political maps, and voters in North Omaha are voicing their concerns about how some of the proposals could impact their voting districts.
Voters in North Omaha are keeping a watchful eye on the redistricting process, and they say they see through the partisanship.
“Historically, it’s a pattern that has happened nationally. Every time the Black community turns out large numbers of people to vote and we vote, here comes the gerrymandering," said one woman in the crowd.
In a town hall on Tuesday, members of the community expressed their frustration and distaste at suggestions that Douglas County be split in half to form congressional districts. They say neighborhoods and towns they consider part of their community are at risk of being roped into an outside group of voters.
Preston Love Jr., the founder of Black Votes Matter, said the event was organized to help get some questions answered about the redistricting process through the help of the League of Women Voters.
“My community needs to know that, they need to be educated, they need to have all of their questions answered," Love Jr. said. "And hopefully, the last thing, is that they will be activated to interact with their state senators - number one, and maybe some of their federal elected officials - number two, and try to affect this process.”
Another issue of concern was a push to require an ID to vote, something advocates say is a step in the wrong direction.
“There’s a lot of things that we could do to actually improve access to voting, whereas this is restricting access, taking away," said Heather Engdahl. "It’s doing the exact opposite of what we want to be doing.”
Many in the crowd say they will decline to sign these voter ID petitions, and are planning to tell their state senators how they think the voters in their community should be grouped.
PUBLIC HEARINGS FOR REDISTRICTING
September 15 at 9:00 a.m. - Lincoln
Nebraska State Capitol, Room 1524, 1445 K St.
September 16 at 10 a.m. - Omaha
Scott Conference Center, 6450 Pine St.