Change to electoral vote process proposed

The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee heard testimony March 6 on a bill that would change presidential election procedures.

Currently, the winner of Nebraska’s popular vote receives two electoral votes. The three congressional districts also award one electoral vote each based on its popular vote winner. Maine is the only other state to use this system.

LB382, introduced by Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen, would reinstate a winner-take-all system that would award all five electoral votes to the winner of the state’s popular vote. Janssen said the current system diminishes the state’s influence on the national stage.

“When we adopted the current system, there were claims that we would see an influx of presidential candidates and campaigns,” he said. “That has not happened and we’ve diminished our clout by not being able to offer five electoral votes.”

Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale testified in support of the bill. He said the winner-take-all system is the most efficient way to elect the president.

“If every state were to adopt our system, it would be highly unlikely in most circumstances that either candidate of either major party would get to the necessary 270 electoral votes,” Gale said.

Charlene Ligon of Bellevue opposed the bill, saying the state’s current system makes sure each vote counts.

“The concept of winner-take-all has been adopted by most states,” she said. “The practice, however, has little basis in representing the ideal of one voice, one vote.”

The committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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