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Election guideline changes passed

Lawmakers passed a bill March 27 that establishes new guidelines for election practices.

LB946, introduced by Gretna Sen. John Murante, makes numerous changes to the Election Act, including:
• delaying from noon to 8 p.m. on election day the deadline for a voter to return the statement declaring the original early ballot was lost;
• 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;
• 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;
• requiring that workers appointed to the counting board for the purpose of counting ballots for school district bonds receive minimum wage; and
• changing reporting thresholds in the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act.

The bill includes provisions of six other bills:
• LB167, introduced by Omaha Sen. Beau McCoy, which requires 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;
• LB219, introduced by Avery, which allows 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 a petition or by political party convention or committee nomination;
• LB726, introduced by Norfolk Sen. Jim Scheer, which changes the number of school board members for Class II and Class III school districts and outlines their election procedures;
• LB743, introduced by Murante, which specifies when the second half of an elected official’s term begins;
• LB833, introduced by Fullerton Sen. Annette Dubas, which defines how county surveyors can be elected or appointed; and
• LB1084, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Tommy Garrett, which clarifies how city council vacancies are filled.

The bill passed on a 43-0 vote and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

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