New and improved ballot access laws are now in place in Nebraska, with Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman having signed LB 1035 on April 10, 2012. The Libertarian Party of Nebraska successfully lobbied for this change so that political parties only need to re-qualify every 4 years rather than every 2 years.
Nebraska State Senator Avery, in testimony in support of the bill stated, "Since the major parties write the rules on how to petition onto the ballot, we have a tendency to write them pretty strict and make it difficult. [This] bill I think provides fairness in access to the ballot." Senator Avery also stated, "The Libertarian Party has significant support in the state…they ought to be given the chance to compete and to compete fairly."
In lobbying for the bill’s passage, a spokesman for the Libertarian Party of Nebraska testified, "We don’t see this as a favor to the party. We see this as a cost saving to the state and as a level of effort reduction for the county clerks. The LP has consistently proven its ability to petition the state to get back on the ballot…[which] is not easy in Nebraska, frankly. So essentially, you could say the Libertarian Party is costing the taxpayers of the state money under the current construct, and we don’t like doing that."
Earlier this year the Nebraska legislature also passed a bill to eliminate the ban on out-of-state petitioners.
Below is the press release from the Libertarian Party of Nebraska regarding LB 1035:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nebraska Changes Law – Libertarians Remain on Ballot at Least Through 2014
Two-Year Sunset on Political Party Recognition Altered to Four-Year Cycle
April 10, 2012 LINCOLN, NE – Party Chairman Gene Siadek issued the following statement:
"The Nebraska Libertarian Party has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to regain official Party status through Nebraska’s frankly onerous petition process. After today however, we may never have to go that route again. This change to the law is a win for us as a political entity, a win for libertarian-leaning conservatives, democrats and nonpartisans, and also a win for the taxpayers of Nebraska.”
Nebraska’s Election Act previously required a Political Party to gain at least five percent in a statewide partisan race every two years to remain recognized by the State. Federal partisan offices that qualify a Party in Nebraska are: President of the U.S. and U.S. Senator. State partisan offices are: Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor of Public Accounts, and Treasurer. Often, only two federal statewide partisan offices appear on Nebraska ballots and, every twelve years, only one (President). Alternative Parties have found it difficult to compete during election cycles when only a limited number of statewide partisan races were available. The change in the law extends the two year requirement to four years. Libertarians gained 22 percent of the vote in a statewide partisan race in the 2010 Auditor race.
“On behalf of the Nebraska Libertarian Party and Nebraska taxpayers, I will close by saying thank you to those State Senators that supported this change as well as saying thank you to the Secretary of State’s office for all their hard work with this effort. With this law, Libertarians in Nebraska have only earned the right to compete in the political process. It’s now up to us and our membership to give Nebraska an alternative choice in their governance.”
Contact: Gene Siadek via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone: (402) 504-0722