3647 Lafayette Avenue, Ste 110; Omaha, NE 68131 otocfornebraska@gmail.com 402-344-4401

Democracy is not a
spectator sport


Elections in the Pandemic

March 31st, 2020

The Nebraska Primary Election is scheduled for May 12, 2020. This election covers primary voting for US President,  US Congressional Representatives, US Senate District 1, some state Senators (odd numbered districts), and several county and local positions including some School Board, OPPD, College Regents, County Commissioners, etc. depending on where you live and what districts you are in. To see who is on your ballot, visit here 5 weeks before the primary, which for this election means they should be up by April 7.

The following information has been curated from the resources provided by the Douglas County Election Commission. Visit their website at https://www.votedouglascounty.com/

Register to Vote/ Checking your registration

Please register to vote! This can be done online, mail in, or in person. Instructions for all of those options are here.

*During Covid-19, we recommend online or mail in registration. Online is easiest, but if you do not have a Nebraska driver’s license or ID, you must use the mail in option.

Voter Registration is due 2 weeks before the Primary. The deadline this election is April 27 for in person and online. Mail in registration must be post marked by April 24. See more about those deadlines here.

Be sure to re-register if you move, change your name, or want to change your party affiliation. This is easiest to do online here.

If you want to check your registration and polling place, go here. You can check where your polling place is and what your party affiliation is.

Voting Options

As of now, voting in person is still an option in Douglas County (as of March 25). Polls are open between 8 am and 8 pm at your designated polling place (find that here) on May 12.

The other main way to vote is through an early voting. This can be done in person at certain locations (more on those details here) or on a mail in ballot.

*If you are not comfortable going to the polls during the pandemic, register for an early voting mail in ballot!

Early Voting Mail In Ballots

Fill out this Early Voting request formYou also should receive an early voting application in the mail that can be returned once filled out.

Mail that form to 12220 W Center Rd, Omaha, NE 68144 or email a scanned version to earlyvoting@votedouglascounty.com

This request must be submitted by May 1. You can do it now!

Your ballot will be mailed to you starting April 6, or a few days after you submit your Early Voting request form.

Once you have received your ballot, you can mail it back or drop it off at one of several drop-off locations listed here.

Early Voting ballots are due May 12 by dropping off at a drop box location by 8 pm or by mailing. If mailing, the election commission must receive the ballot by May 12- plan early!

Call now for a Just Stimulus Package

March 23rd, 2020

Please Contact Congress Person and Senators RIGHT NOW ahead of votes on Stimulus Package

As of this morning, the US Senate is deadlocked in its effort to pass a $1.8+ trillion fiscal stimulus bill to address the Covid-19 public health and economic crisis.

OTOC is part of the Industrial Areas Foundation, a Coalition of over 65 groups like OTOC across the country. Please join thousands of other Leaders from all over the US in contacting Congress so that people, not large corporations, get the most benefit from the upcoming stimulus package that will be voted on  TODAY or TOMORROW.

Please contact your US Senators and Representatives to urge them to pass a fiscal stimulus bill that adheres to the IAF Core Principles outlined below. It is imperative to email and/or call their US Senators THIS MORNING as negotiations about the bill continue and ahead of a projected vote today or tomorrow.

Please also send this ask to your congregations and community to invite them to act.

Omaha Area Congress Members:

Representative Don Bacon: 202-225-4155, send email on this form

Representative Jeff Fortenberry: 202-225-4806, email on this form

Senator Fischer: 202-224-6551, send email on this form
Senator Sasse: 202-224-4224, send email on this form


Sample Script:

Dear Senator____ or Congressperson_____:

The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) urges Congress to pass an economic stimulus plan that protects those who urgently need help the most: American workers, families, and small businesses on the front lines of this national emergency. The federal government must act swiftly and decisively.  We must take all necessary steps to avoid the loss of income, housing, safety, and crumbling communities.  Those most at risk should be the direct and primary beneficiaries of federal intervention, not multinational corporations.

  1. Help American Workers and Families Now;
  2. Save Jobs and Protect Service Sector Workers;
  3. Drastically Expand Health Care Coverage for the Most Vulnerable;
  4. Invest Heavily in Health Care Infrastructure to Support Front Line Workers and Providers;
  5. Protect Our Communities;
  6. Avoid the Mistakes of the 2008 Financial Sector Bailouts.

The IAF represents 65 Broad-Based citizens’ organizations throughout the US, working with thousands of religious congregations, small businesses, education institutions, non-profits, civic organizations, unions to make change on social justice issues.
Thank You.

Read More . . .

End All Evictions during Corona Virus

March 20th, 2020

On Wednesday, March 26, Governor Pete Ricketts signed an executive order postponing evictions due to non-payment of rent from Coronavirus. OTOC is pleased at this great first step towards preventing more homelessness from evictions during this crisis. Thank you for your action that helped this to happen!

KETV Coverage: https://www.ketv.com/article/gov-ricketts-to-provide-covid-19-response-update-wednesday-afternoon/31930902#

This order removes the requirement of eviction hearings to be held withing 10-14 days of filing, and judges are now required to wait until after May 31 for any evictions filed due to non-payment of rent due to Coronavirus causing illness, loss of work, or loss of work because children are home.

To improve on this executive order, OTOC is urging Douglas County Judge Louhaus to suspend all evictions, regardless of the cause. No one should lose their home in the midst of a global pandemic.

OTOC Leaders invite you to take action for vulnerable families in Omaha, especially during the current global pandemic. We also recognize some landlords will lose income during the pandemic as well. We will continue to work with congregations, housing agencies, tenants, and landlords for just policies that support struggling landlords as well as tenants.

OTOC believes that even one eviction will have a highly negative ripple effect in the community. Please use any or several of these talking points when contacting the following public officials.

  • The Governor has eliminated the 10-14 day requirement, so now the judge has the authority to postpone these cases until May 31 or later if needed.
  • Regardless of why the eviction is being called for, all persons would be effected in ways exacerbated by the current health crisis.
  • People most at risk for eviction are also at high risk for COVID-19
  • The systems we have in place to support people who lose their homes are already overburdened with COVID-19 response measures. Agencies are currently triaging and can no longer adequately address the needs of more persons and families facing homelessness.
  • Losing housing means persons cannot social distance or quarantine if needed and thus will add to overburdening the health care system.
  • Eviction will push people into vulnerable situations, i.e.- overcrowding into family and friends’ homes or into shelters where COVID-19 will spread to many more in our community.
  • Crowded courtrooms will put many people at risk for exposure to COVID-19.

Contact Douglas County Judge Sheryl Lohaus. Ask her to withhold writs of eviction during the current crisis.

Judge Lohaus contact:



How we got here

We have signed on to a letter with 28 other organizations that was presented to the Omaha Mayor, Omaha City Council, Douglas County Board, and Douglas County Sharif and Judge Cheryl Louhaus. Read the full letter here.

With an average of 4,823 eviction actions filed annually in Douglas County – or approximately 92 per week– and 40 eviction hearings scheduled in Douglas County Courtroom 20 this Friday, March 20 alone, we must take immediate policy action to get ahead of the economic fallout.

How to keep community using Zoom

March 17th, 2020

Zoom is online meeting software we can use to help stay connected. When the time comes, click the link above. This works on a computer, tablet, iPad, or smart phone.

For each Zoom meeting, click the link provided when it is time for the meeting. This is what that looks like:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 787 401 155
Password: 044698

You should not need the meeting ID or Password. Once you click on the link, it will ask if Zoom can run on your computer. Click yes, and the Zoom meeting window should open.

There is also a call-in option if you are unable to try the online video. Video is recommended if your computer or device has a webcam or camera, but if you don’t you can use the call in numbers. This is what that looks like:

Dial by your location
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 301 715 8592 US
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US
Meeting ID: 787 401 155

You do not need to be signed up with Zoom to join meetings. If you would like a Zoom account, you can set that up here and click the “Sign up, it’s free” button. But again, you do not have to create an account. As long as you have the link for a particular meeting, you can get in.

Basic Instructions by device:

Before the Call
  • You can join the call using your computer, smartphone, or landline.
  • With your computer, allow Zoom to download and run as an application on your computer.
  • With your smartphone, install the “ZOOM Cloud Meetings” app. If you don’t want to use the app, call in as with a landline
  • You will have the option to check your audio and/or video before you join the call
  • You do not need to create an account with Zoom to access the call
Joining a Zoom Meeting
For computer and smartphone app:
  • Click on the “Join Zoom Meeting” link found in your email invite and connect directly
  • OR open the Zoom website ( https://zoom.us/join) or Zoom app. Use the Meeting ID (and password if required) to access the meeting
  • Follow prompts to allow the program to access your microphone and/or camera
For phone/landline:
  • Dial the phone number listed in your email invite. There may be several possible numbers listed. Choose the closest geographic location (Chicago) if you have multiple options.
  • The call will prompt you to enter the Meeting ID followed by # sign. Then you will be asked to input your participant ID if you have one, just hit # sign again.
Participating in a Zoom meeting
  • Once you’ve joined the call, there are several settings you can adjust when using your smartphone app or computer
  • On a phone, mute or unmute your phone by pressing *6. It’s recommended to keep your phone muted when you’re not talking to minimize background noise.

More resources and information:

Using Zoom (with pictures)

Zoom Basics and Tips

Video tutorial

Zoom.us resources and tutorials


Still confused?

On whatever devise you are using just click on the link and follow the prompts, that’s the easiest way.

Ask Greta for any help. We can all learn together!  gretalovem@gmail.com

Payday Lending Ballot Initiative

February 12th, 2020

OTOC’s Payday Lending Action Team has been working for several years to combat inhumane interest rates on delayed deposit loans. In 2020 we are participating in a state wide ballot initiative to put reduced interest rates into law.

2020 Ballot Initiative

A coalition of nonprofits across the state have teamed up to put this issue on the ballot. This requires getting 85,000 signatures of registered voters before July 3, 2020. Within these 85,000 signatures, 36 counties need 5% o their registered voters to sign. Then, if the issue qualifies, it will be on the November 2020 ballot for Nebraskans to vote on.

Amend Nebraska statutes to reduce the amount that delayed deposit services licensees, also known as payday lenders, can charge to a maximum annual percentage rate of thirty-six percent; to prohibit payday lenders from evading this rate cap; and to deem void and uncollectable any transaction made in violation of this rate cap.

If this Petition is placed on the 2020 ballot and passed by Nebraska voters, Sections 45-918 and 45-919 of the Delayed Deposit Services Licensing Act statutes would be amended to reflex the object of this Petition.

Key Dates:

July 3, 2020 – Petition signatures must be turned in
Nov.3, 2020 – Election Day

Payday Lending Coalition Member List

AARP of Nebraska, ACLU of Nebraska, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska Civic Engagement Table, Omaha Together One Community (OTOC), Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Voices for Children in Nebraska, Women’s Fund of Omaha

Learn more about the Nebraskans for Responsible Lending campaign here

Leaders Richard Blocker and Rod Kuhlmann lead a presentation at Augustana Lutheran Church

What Can I Do?

Read More . . .

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