Election guideline changes advanced

New guidelines for county election practices were advanced from general file March 13.

LB946, introduced by Gretna Sen. John Murante, makes numerous changes to the Election Act, including:
• requiring that workers appointed to the counting board for the purpose of counting ballots for school district bonds receive minimum wage;
• allowing for a special election for a Class IV or Class V school district to be held in conjunction with the primary or general election for a city of the primary or metropolitan class which is governed by a home rule charter; and
• allowing the election commissioner or county clerk to mail a notice explaining how to obtain a ballot in place of a ballot to all registered voters who have been sent a notice and failed to respond in a special election by mail.

A Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee amendment, adopted 31-0, made three changes that would:
• change reporting thresholds in the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act;
• delay from noon to 8 p.m. the deadline on election day for a voter to return the statement declaring the original early ballot was lost; and
• maintain current law preventing an election commissioner from holding elective office or becoming a candidate for elective office within six months after leaving office, which would have been removed by the original bill.

The amendment also included provisions of four other bills:

• LB726, introduced by Norfolk Sen. Jim Scheer, which would change the number of school board members for Class II and Class III school districts and outline their election procedures;
• LB743, introduced by Murante, which would specify when the second half of an elected official’s term begins;
• LB833, introduced by Fullerton Sen. Annette Dubas, which would define how county surveyors can be elected or appointed; and
• LB1084, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Tommy Garrett, which would clarify how city council vacancies are filled.

The bill would go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery brought an amendment to the committee amendment, adopted 30-0, which would allow any registered voter who was not a candidate in the primary election and who was not registered to vote with a party affiliation on or after March 1 and before the general election in the calendar year of the general election, to have his or her name placed on the general election ballot for a partisan office by filing petitions or by nomination by political party convention or committee.

Murante also brought an amendment to the committee amendment, adopted 27-0, which would require presidential electors to take a pledge and cast a ballot for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who receive the highest number of votes in their district.

Following adoption of a technical amendment, senators advanced the bill to select file on a 31-0 vote.

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