Nebraska

Articles about voting issues in Nebraska.

Nebraska: Politically charged bills, including winner-take-all, voter ID, await senators | Lincoln Journal Star

Political fireworks ahead in the Legislature. Sen. John Murante of Gretna said Wednesday he still intends to offer an amendment to pending legislation that would return Nebraska to a winner-take-all presidential electoral system, but he has not picked a legislative vehicle yet. Meanwhile, Murante’s proposed constitutional amendment (LR1CA) to require a photo ID for voters to participate in Nebraska elections is virtually assured of consideration during the final 15 days of this legislative session because he has identified it as his priority proposal.

Full Article: Politically charged bills, including winner-take-all, await senators | Nebraska Legislature | journalstar.com.

Nebraska: Governor rejects restoring felon voting rights | The Hill

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) on Friday vetoed a bipartisan measure that would have granted former felons the right to vote after they had completed their sentences. Supporters of the measure said it would help those who had served their time become members of society once again. In a letter to the Legislature, though, Ricketts said the measure would have circumvented the state constitution. “While the legislature may restore certain privileges, such as driving privileges, to convicted felons, the legislature may not circumvent the Nebraska Constitution to automatically restore a voting right in state law,” Ricketts wrote to legislators, adding that the bill “is attempting to create the equivalent of a legislative pardon.”

Full Article: Nebraska gov rejects restoring felon voting rights | TheHill.

Nebraska: Ricketts vetoes bill to restore voting rights to felons sooner | Omaha World-Herald

The governor is headed for a showdown with state lawmakers over felon voting rights. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed a measure Thursday that restores the voting rights of felons immediately after they complete their sentences. He maintained that the Legislature violated the Nebraska Constitution by assuming the power to pardon that properly belongs to the executive branch of government. “Any effort to restore a civil right revoked in the Nebraska Constitution requires changing the Nebraska Constitution,” the governor said in a message announcing his first veto of the session.

Full Article: Ricketts vetoes bill to restore voting rights to felons sooner | Legislature | omaha.com.

Nebraska: Legislature moves bill to let unelected senators serve longer | Associated Press

The Nebraska Legislature gave initial approval Thursday to a measure that could let appointed state senators serve more than two and a half years before they face an election, but several lawmakers say the bill needs more work to ensure voters can choose their representative. Vacancies that occur earlier than 60 days before an election now are filled during the election. A proposal by Sen. John Murante of Gretna would instead require that vacancies occur before Feb. 1 of an election year to be filled in the next election.

Full Article: Nebraska moves bill to let unelected senators serve longer | The Herald.

Nebraska: Ricketts won’t sign bill restoring felons’ voting rights sooner; governor mum on veto | Omaha World-Herald

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced today that he won’t sign a bill that allows Nebraska felons to vote in elections after completing their sentences. The Legislature voted 27-13 Monday to pass the bill, which ends the two-year waiting period for felons before they can exercise their right to vote. Ricketts declined to say whether he will veto the bill, which would require a vote of 30 senators to override. If the governor simply does not sign the legislation, it will become law after five days.

Full Article: Ricketts won't sign bill restoring felons' voting rights sooner; governor mum on veto, but says current 2-year wait 'not too much to ask' | News | tribuneledgernews.com.

Nebraska: Lawmakers pass bill to restore felons’ voting rights sooner, but it’s unclear whether Ricketts will sign or veto it | Omaha World-Herald

Felons would no longer have to wait two years after serving their sentences to exercise their right to vote under a bill that passed Monday in the Nebraska Legislature. It remained unclear, however, whether Gov. Pete Ricketts would allow Legislative Bill 75 to become law or veto it. The Governor’s Office did not respond Monday to questions about the measure. The priority bill of State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha would need 30 votes to override a veto. It received 27 “yes” votes Monday.

Full Article: Lawmakers pass bill to restore felons' voting rights sooner, but it's unclear whether Ricketts will sign or veto it | Legislature | omaha.com.

Nebraska: Controversial ex-felon voting bill moves to governor’s desk | Lincoln Journal Star

A bill that would allow ex-felons to vote without a two-year wait after their sentences are complete won approval from state senators Monday, but not by a lot.  It will now move to Gov. Pete Ricketts’ desk for his signature. The Legislature voted 27-13 on final reading, not enough for a 30-vote veto override if one comes. The bill (LB75) came out of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on a 5-1 vote, but was questioned by committee Chairman John Murante.

Full Article: Controversial ex-felon voting bill moves to governor's desk | | journalstar.com.

Nebraska: Bill to make Nebraska’s Electoral College votes winner-take-all is headed to Legislature floor | Omaha World-Herald

Nebraska lawmakers may soon debate a familiar effort to return the state to a winner-take-all system for awarding presidential electors. The Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee voted Tuesday to advance Legislative Bill 25 to the floor. State Sen. John Murante of Gretna, the bill’s sponsor, said he will attempt to attach the proposal to another bill so it can still be debated in the waning weeks of the legislative session. Republican members of the officially nonpartisan Legislature have tried repeatedly to end Nebraska’s system of splitting its three Electoral College votes based upon the winner in each congressional district. Votes on the issue have largely fallen along party lines, with primarily Democrats voting against.

Full Article: Bill to make Nebraska's Electoral College votes winner-take-all is headed to Legislature floor | Legislature | omaha.com.

Nebraska: Resolution to require voter ID at Nebraska’s polls advances but is expected to stir debate among lawmakers | Omaha World-Herald

A skirmish over voter identification flared Thursday in the Nebraska Legislature, portending the battle that’s about to come. The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee voted 6-2 to advance to the floor Legislative Resolution 1CA, which asks Nebraskans whether they want to put a photo ID requirement in the state constitution. If adopted by the full Legislature, ballot language on the constitutional amendment would appear before voters in November 2018. If voters approve the amendment it will be left to state lawmakers to pass legislation spelling out what constitutes an acceptable ID and whether the state will pay for IDs for those who cannot afford them.

Full Article: Resolution to require voter ID at Nebraska's polls advances but is expected to stir debate among lawmakers | Legislature | omaha.com.

Nebraska: Voter photo ID proposal clears committee | Lincoln Journal Star

A proposed constitutional amendment that would set the stage for voter photo ID requirements in Nebraska was dispatched Thursday to the floor of the Legislature where it will trigger a certain filibuster. Sen. John Murante of Gretna, sponsor of the proposal (LR1CA), said he’s not sure whether he can muster the 33 votes required to break a filibuster. “I think it will be close,” he said moments after the measure cleared the Government, Military and Affairs Committee. 

Full Article: Voter photo ID proposal clears committee | Nebraska Legislature | journalstar.com.

Nebraska: Bill advances to restore felon voting rights sooner | Associated Press

Nebraska lawmakers gave initial approval Friday to a bill that would allow people convicted of felonies to vote when they complete their prison sentences and any parole or probation. Senators voted 28-8 to eliminate the state’s two-year waiting period, which Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha says continues to disenfranchise Nebraska residents who are racial minorities. People of color made up about 15 percent of the state’s population in the most recent census and nearly half of its prisoners. “This disenfranchisement law is at best profoundly outdated,” Wayne said. “At worst, it’s discrimination against minority voters.” The bill would affect about 7,800 felons in Nebraska.

Full Article: Nebraska advances bill to restore felon voting rights sooner | Government and Politics | fremonttribune.com.

Nebraska: Bill sparks debate over felon voting rights | KIIT

Nebraska lawmakers are considering a measure this session to help felons re-enter society after prison. A legislative committee has advanced a bill that would restore voting rights to felons as soon as they complete their sentence, including prison time and parole. … Now, a bill prioritized by senator Justin Wayne of Omaha would restore voting rights to felons as soon as they complete their sentence, including prison time and parole. “People don’t get surprised and think ‘oh no, I lost my voting rights’. they know they were committing a felony, and they know there is penalties for committing a felony” Sheriff Kramer said.

Full Article: Bill sparks debate over felon voting rights.

Nebraska: Secretary of State Gale Will Not Seek Re-Election | Associated Press

Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2018, ending a career that focused on expanding voter participation and upgrading election equipment. Gale has served as the state’s top elections official since 2000, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Johanns. His decision sets the stage for a potentially competitive race to replace him. “Being Secretary of State has been one of the most fulfilling, exciting and memorable experiences of my career,” Gale said in a statement. “I feel very lucky to have been able to offer my public service as a constitutional officer to Nebraska and its citizens.”

Full Article: Nebraska Secretary of State Gale Will Not Seek Re-Election | Nebraska News | US News.

Nebraska: Murante, Morfeld spar over voter ID | Lincoln Journal Star

Sens. John Murante of Gretna and Adam Morfeld of Lincoln sparred good-naturedly Thursday over the need for voter identification requirements in Nebraska. At issue was Morfeld’s proposed constitutional amendment (LR15CA) to prohibit voter ID mandates, a proposal that he acknowledged was offered in direct response to Murante’s proposal for a constitutional amendment that would clear the path for voter photo ID requirements in Nebraska. Either proposal would be submitted for voter approval in 2018 if it clears the Legislature with at least 30 votes. 

Full Article: Murante, Morfeld spar over voter ID | Nebraska Legislature | journalstar.com.

Nebraska: Senator: Nebraska voting equipment needs to be replaced | Associated Press

Lawmakers need to look seriously at replacing Nebraska’s election equipment even though it could cost the state $20 million to $30 million, a leading senator said Wednesday. Sen. John Murante of Gretna said the current equipment is on pace to fail and create major headaches for counties, which are responsible for administering elections. “We simply cannot do nothing,” said Murante, the chairman of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “That is not an option.” His comments during a legislative hearing drew support from Secretary of State John Gale, who said the state should continue covering the cost rather than counties.

Full Article: Senator: Nebraska voting equipment needs to be replaced | The Sacramento Bee.

Nebraska: Election, DMV officials testify against bill that would make voter registration automatic | Omaha World Herald

A measure to implement automatic voter registration in Nebraska faced opposition Thursday from the state’s chief election official and head of the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles. Allowing automatic voter registration would flood the voter registration system with people who are ineligible or already registered, said Colleen Byelick, general counsel and chief deputy for the Secretary of State’s Office. DMV Director Rhonda Lahm argued that not everyone who qualifies for a driver’s license or state ID card is eligible to vote, including people under 18 and those who are not U.S. citizens.

Full Article: Nebraska election, DMV officials testify against bill that would make voter registration automatic | Legislature | omaha.com.

Nebraska: Voter photo ID heads toward showdown | Lincoln Journal Star

The latest effort to require voters to present a photo ID in order to participate in Nebraska elections attracted strong opposition Thursday at a legislative hearing on its first step toward a filibuster showdown. The new proposal (LR1CA) offered by Sen. John Murante of Gretna was crafted in the form of a constitutional amendment that would be submitted to Nebraska voters in 2018. If voters approved the amendment, the Legislature would determine the voter ID requirements. … Opponents argued that requirements for voter photo IDs tend to suppress the votes of students and other mobile young people, the elderly and disabled, African-Americans, Latino-Americans and the poor, most of which are traditional Democratic constituencies. And that, some testifiers said, is what photo ID requirements are designed to do.

Full Article: Voter photo ID heads toward showdown | Nebraska Legislature | journalstar.com.

Nebraska: Committee advances bill to allow immediate voting rights to felons | Lincoln Journal Star

Twelve years ago, Katrina Thomas served six months in prison, thinking she would never be able to vote again because of a felony conviction. She found out when she was released that the Legislature had passed a bill in 2005, the year she entered prison, that allowed her to vote two years after her sentence was complete. Now she is fighting for others to remove the two-year wait and allow them the right to vote as soon as their sentences are complete. Thomas testified Wednesday in front of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on a bill (LB75), introduced by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, that would repeal the waiting period.  Before 2005, the state had a lifetime voting ban for those convicted of felonies.

Full Article: Committee advances bill to allow immediate voting rights to felons | Nebraska Legislature | journalstar.com.

Nebraska: Bill would restore felons’ voting rights sooner | York News Times

A Nebraska legislative committee advanced a bill Wednesday that would give people convicted of crimes the right to vote when they complete their sentences. Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha told the committee the state’s 2005 law that allows felons to vote two years after they finish their sentences doesn’t do enough. A bill he sponsored and intends to designate as his priority, increasing the odds lawmakers will vote on it, would restore voting rights to felons as soon as they complete their sentences, including any parole or probation. It would affect about 7,800 felons in Nebraska, including Shakur Abdullah, who was released from prison last year. Abdullah, who served 41 years for shooting two men and killing one when he was 16, told the committee he’s never been able to vote. He now helps others involved in the criminal justice system.

Full Article: Bill would restore felons’ voting rights sooner | Statewide News | yorknewstimes.com.

Nebraska: Redistricting proposal would utilize independent advisory panel | Omaha World Herald

An Omaha lawmaker is taking another stab at creating an independent advisory commission of citizens to redraw the state’s political maps. Introduced by State Sen. Burke Harr, Legislative Bill 216 is similar to a proposal brought last year by Sen. John Murante of Gretna and then-Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed the bill, citing constitutional objections. Murante did not seek a legislative override and has introduced LB 653, his own redistricting proposal, this year. Harr told members of the Legislature’s Executive Board on Monday that he’s willing to work with Murante toward a compromise and has looked at Ricketts’ concerns. “I reintroduced the bill taking into account the governor’s concerns,” he said.

Full Article: Redistricting would utilize independent advisory panel | Legislature | omaha.com.