Civic engagement has always been important to Margaret Marsh.
That passion led the Hastings woman to a position as a voting rights field organizer for the Lincoln-based Civic Nebraska.
“It is something I put a lot of effort into in my private life and also as a volunteer for different organizations,” she said. “I’m just on the voting rights team, but Civic Nebraska also does civic engagement with conversations.”
She mentioned youth initiatives and after school programs in Lincoln and Omaha as well as a capitol day where high school students can go to the capitol and are educated on the legislature.
“Even aside from just the components I’m working in, there’s so much going on in the organization that has always been important to me,” she said. “Youth outreach especially is something that made me really excited initially about Civic Nebraska’s work.”
She started her job in late April. Her initial involvement with Civic Nebraska was in a volunteer capacity as a voting rights advocate during election season a few years ago.
Outside of Lincoln and Omaha, Adams County was the only greater Nebraska team that participated in poll observation during the last election.
It was at that time she met Brad Christian-Sallis, voting rights field director for Civic Nebraska.
Christian-Sallis sought out Marsh for her current position.
He also had encouraged her to be a voting rights advocate.
“I did that just because she was really engaged in the community and she had been following our posts and things like that,” he said. “She was really dedicated to voting rights and making sure every eligible citizen got to cast a ballot.”
Marsh shined in that role, he said.
“We do some voter registration, but a lot of it is getting people organized to advocate for their voting rights just across the state, teaching people how to come up to the legislature and how to properly prepare testimony for a hearing or how to write their senator, the best way to call them and talk to them about voting rights,” Christian-Sallis said.
Marsh is Civic Nebraska’s first voting rights field organizer west of Lincoln.
“For me it was something I felt was really important — to be able to reach the rest of the state,” Christian-Sallis said. “There’s Nebraskans across the state who care about voting rights.”
He tries to visit other areas of the state as much as possible.
“Just logistically it’s tough not living there,” he said. “So it was really important to have someone who lived there and was part of the community and who could be there on a more consistent basis.”
Civic Nebraska works with senators to sponsor legislation.
Advocacy is also a big part of the organization. Volunteers go out during elections.
“We provide them with training and they go out to polls and they are assessing the sites for any accessibility issues to make sure they are compliant with ADA requirements,” Marsh said.
She’s available to talk to different groups, speak in classrooms, church or civic organizations.
She’s had a lot of training in Lincoln.
Her first public presentation was May 21 in Kearney.
She met with the Kearney Action Network and provided an overview of the duties of a voting rights advocate.
Marsh is initially focusing on central Nebraska with her efforts spent on the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas.
Eventually she will extend her efforts west and in broader parts of the state.
Some efforts are currently taking place in western Nebraska.
“We do have some outreach to greater, greater Nebraska,” she said. “The real effort is first getting central Nebraska set. Then, as time progresses the length of distance I travel will progress, as well.”