Thursday, February 18, 2021

Early Signs: Nebraska Electoral Vote Allocation Likely to Stay the Same

Last week FHQ detailed new legislation in Nebraska that would shift the allocation of electoral college votes from a congressional district method back to the standard winner-take-all method used in 48 other states and Washington, DC.

And this latest effort to switch back to a winner-take-all format for the first time since 1988 looks to go down the same road the previous 16 over the years: nowhere. Martha Stoddard at the Omaha World-Herald reported that LB 76's hearing before the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee found more opposition than support in the comments brought before the panel. 

Only the bill's sponsor, Senator Julie Slama (R-1st, Peru) and Ryan Hamilton, the executive director of the Republican Party in the Cornhusker state, spoke in favor of the move back to a winner-take-all allocation. Slama called the current system "unfair" and that it places undue partisan pressure on lawmakers in the redistricting process. 

Both arguments received pushback from opponents of the bill, including the system's architect, former Senator DiAnna Schimek. Opposition argued that the current system at least potentially makes part of the state -- Omaha -- competitive during a presidential general elections and thus draws some attention to the state.

The bill is not dead, but the signal coming out of the initial hearing was not positive for those seeking a reversion to the winner-take-all system.

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