The clock is ticking on a legal battle over who will appear as Pete Ricketts’ No. 2 man on Nebraska ballots this fall. The federal deadline to have ballots sent to military and overseas voters is Friday, and the printers are already running for some counties. “My ballots have gone to print,” said Cass County Election Commissioner Nancy Josoff. She’s also emailed ballots to a couple traveling abroad. Most counties are in the final stages of proofing the many versions of ballots they distribute within their areas. Those proofs are then generally sent to Election Systems and Software, the Omaha company that produces ballots for 90 of Nebraska’s 93 counties. Meanwhile, attorneys are wrangling over whether state Auditor Mike Foley’s name should be allowed to replace that of former Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann on the ballot as running mate for Ricketts, the Republican gubernatorial nominee. Ricketts named Foley as his pick for lieutenant governor after Heidemann resigned last week. Democrats and others have balked at Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale for allowing the switch despite a Sept. 1 deadline for a person to agree to appear on the ballot as a candidate for lieutenant governor. Gale is a Republican.
On Tuesday, lawyers for the state and the Ricketts campaign appeared in Lancaster County District Court to defend Gale’s decision, arguing Ricketts has a constitutional right to pick his running mate and that ordering Gale to put Heidemann’s name on the ballot instead of Foley’s would “cause disorder and chaos.”
Gale has some discretion when it comes to state election rules, Assistant Attorney General L. Jay Bartel told Judge Lori Maret. He said Gale’s decision was consistent with the purpose of the law given the “unique circumstances” at play.
“The deadlines in this case are not discretionary,” argued Elizabeth Eynon-Kokrda, attorney for Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mark Elworth Jr., who is seeking a writ of mandamus to require Gale to put Heidemann’s name on the ballot.
Full Article: Judge must rule on ballot switch as deadline nears.