Omnibus election bill advances

A bill that would keep in-person voting an option in certain counties was amended to become an omnibus election measure and advanced from general file March 5.

Sen. Tom Brewer
Sen. Tom Brewer

LB1055, introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, would require counties that conduct elections by mail to have an in-person polling site at the office of the county clerk, at least one secure ballot drop box available for voters and in-person early voting opportunities.

Currently, counties of less than 10,000 residents can apply to the state for permission to hold an election entirely by mail.

“It’s important for people to have the option to go to the county clerk’s office, drop off a mail-in ballot or they can cast an in-person ballot,” Brewer said.

Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha supported the bill, saying that he wants to assure that voters in eligible counties know they can vote in person if they wish to.

A Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee amendment, adopted 42-0, added the provisions of several bills to LB1055:
• LB820, introduced by Brewer, which would remove “home” and “work” phone numbers from voter application forms and make changes to the timeline for recall elections;
• LB1086, introduced by Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln, which would require poll watchers who wish to observe Election Day procedures to be either a registered voter in Nebraska or a member of a state, national or international election monitoring organization;
• LB1136, introduced by Sen. Matt Williams of Gothenburg, which would require members of a public power board to be governed by the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act when dealing with conflicts of interest on board business and would repeal a law prohibiting a public power board member from having an interest in a contract to which the board is a party;
• LB1119, introduced by Gretna Sen. Andrew La Grone, which would prohibit special elections from being held in March of even-numbered years unless the election is in conjunction with a statewide primary election; and
• LB1120, also introduced by La Grone, which would prohibit special elections from being held in September of even-numbered years unless the election is in conjunction with a statewide general election.

La Grone introduced an amendment, adopted 39-0, that would allow school bond special elections to be held in March and would also allow a political subdivision to hold a special election in September to either approve a property tax levy or to exceed the subdivision’s property tax levy limitation.

Lawmakers advanced LB1055 to select file on a 45-0 vote.

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