Nebraska State Senator Bob Krist Hasn’t Decided Which Petition to Use, When he Runs for Governor in 2018

On September 13, Nebraska State Senator Bob Krist said he will run for Governor of Nebraska in 2018 on a “Unity ticket”, which seems to say he will form a new party called the Unity Party. See this story. However, his campaign says he hasn’t decided yet on which petition route he will use, new party or independent.

The new party petition route is 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, which is 4,880 signatures. The independent petition is well over 110,000 (10% of the number of registered voters in 2018), and is clearly unconstitutional.


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Nebraska State Senator Bob Krist Hasn’t Decided Which Petition to Use, When he Runs for Governor in 2018 — 8 Comments

  1. In the Unicameral, Krist serves on the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Libertarian Laura Ebke.

    Nebraska sure looks friendly to third parties and independents these days!

  2. Richard Winger said: ” The independent petition is well over 110,000 (10% of the number of registered voters in 2018), and is clearly unconstitutional.”

    Are you sure that the independent petition requirement for Governor of Nebraska is that high? I know that it is not that high for US Senate or for President in Nebraska. I recall those requirements being around 3,000 signatures, with an even distribution requirement out of each of Nebraska’s three congressional districts.

  3. In 2016, the Nebraska legislature passed LB 874, which increased the non-presidential independent petition requirement to 10% of the number of registered voters. It has not been in effect for any election year yet, but it is in effect now and will affect 2018 unless it is struck down or repealed.

    The sponsor was Seantor John Murante. Some of the Nebraska Senators voted for the bill without even knowing what was in it. It was a very long omnibus election law bill. I talked to one Nebraska Senator in March 2017, face-to-face, and it was news to him.

  4. Since when do robot partisan or even NE nonpartisan HACKS read any bill – esp. any election law bill ???

  5. http://nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID=28788

    http://nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/104/PDF/Slip/LB874.pdf

    Sec. 32-618 – part

    (2) The number of signatures of registered voters needed to place the name of a candidate for an office upon the partisan ballot for the general election shall be at least ten percent of the registered voters entitled to vote for the office.

    —-
    Hmmm. Lock in the party hacks for USA Senator and USA Rep ??? Duh.

  6. Richard Winger said: “In 2016, the Nebraska legislature passed LB 874, which increased the non-presidential independent petition requirement to 10% of the number of registered voters. It has not been in effect for any election year yet, but it is in effect now and will affect 2018 unless it is struck down or repealed.”

    This is an insanely difficult requirement. Somebody should challenge this in court, and it should be thrown out.

    “The sponsor was Seantor John Murante. Some of the Nebraska Senators voted for the bill without even knowing what was in it. It was a very long omnibus election law bill. I talked to one Nebraska Senator in March 2017, face-to-face, and it was news to him.”

    This is yet another example of how irresponsible most legislators are, and is yet another reason why the Read The Bills Act ought to be passed for every legislative body in the country.

  7. The short title of (LB 874):

    Change procedures for filling vacancies on school boards.

    Most of the bill did involve vacancies in school board. The bill was substituted to convert it to an omnibus bill, and there were several innocuous provisions, such as:

    (a) Permitting yard signs on private property within a 200-foot limit, so long as the property was not in common ownership with the polling place (e.g. if the polling place were at a school, the homeowner across the street could have a yard sign).

    (b) Permitting ballot selfies. The old law made it illegal to show your ballot to anyone else. The law now makes it illegal to solicit someone to show their ballot.

    The old law had a 20% requirement for non-statewide partisan offices, but it also had a cap of 2000. For US Representative, this would have been around 50,000 except for the cap.

    Three bills were heard in committee. HB 787 was the ballot selfie bill, and most of the hearing was devoted to that. HB 874 originally dealt only with school board vacancies, and the purpose was to make them be treated alike. Someone from the Nebraska Association of School Boards testified, saying that the hardest part for her would be spelling her name (since it was such a simple bill). HB 879 set the increased signature limits for partisan election. No one testified for or against the bill, and there were no specific questions (e.g. “so this increases the number of signatures to run as an independent candidate for governor from 4000 to 120,000? Great Idea!” or “so this increases the number of signatures to run as an independent candidate for governor from 4000 to 120,000? I’m not so sure about that.”

    With that, the committee hearing was closed. It does not appear that there are committee reports for bills, and the last activity for HB 879 was the committee hearing. So it appears that everyone was oblivious to the change. The big question is whether they were deliberately so.

    When HB 874 (the non-controversial school board bill) was considered before the full legislature, the sponsor offered his substitute that converted it into an omnibus elections bill. Besides the original text dealing with school board vacancies, there was the ballot selfie provisions, the change to partisan petitions, and a couple of changes in deadlines by a few days.

    There was a question about the school board change, and then an extensive discussion about ballot selfies (which is an easy topic to understand, and also make a snap judgment about). Some senators said they would vote against the bill if the ballot selfie provision was in the bill.

    Again, nobody even mentioned the change in partisan petition requirements. It could be that superficially it appeared that they were being reduced or simply made consistent with non-partisan offices.

    Under the existing law, the signature requirement for non-statewide partisan offices (e.g. US Representative) was 20% of registered voters, but there was also a 2000-signature cap. Now the requirement is 10% but with no cap.

    There was (and is) a 10% requirement for nonpartisan offices, but they are not comparable. For nonpartisan offices (including the legislature), all candidates run in the primary and the Top 2 advance. The petition is to get directly on the general election ballot, and would typically be used if a candidate died or withdrew after the primary. If someone could pull off a 10% petition, they should have been able to win the primary.

    The claim has been made that the number of signatures is comparable to that needed to win a primary. That is not really true. In recent Democratic primaries, there have been fewer votes cast than the number of signatures needed on a petition. In contested Republican primaries, the winning candidate rarely exceeds the number (Donald Trump got 122,000 votes in 2016).

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