Nebraska Republicans Fight to Get Rid of One Democratic Electoral Vote

Tuesday, February 03, 2015
(CBS/AP graphic)

Republicans in the very red state of Nebraska have decided it’s time to erase any possibility of a Democrat winning even a single electoral vote in future presidential contests.


Unlike most states, Nebraska does not award of all its electoral votes to a single candidate (Maine being the only other state to do this).


Under the current system, it is possible for a Democratic presidential candidate to pick up one of Nebraska’s five electoral votes. Barack Obama accomplished this rare feat in 2008, which marked the first time that had happened for a Democrat since 1964 with Lyndon Johnson. Obama’s visits to the state, his opening of a campaign office and winning an electoral vote generated enthusiasm among Nebraska Democrats and even a jump in voter registrations, according to state Democratic chairman Vince Powers.


However, Obama did not collect any in 2012, when Mitt Romney took of all Nebraska’s electoral votes. And Republicans don’t want to see a Democrat snatching away any of those votes again—even one.


“It’s just recently that the antagonism has gotten so great in this state — and nationally, I think — that it’s gotten much more frustrating being a Democrat in Nebraska,” William Forsee, a Democratic activist who cast the state’s electoral vote for Obama in 2008, told The New York Times.


GOP leaders now want to change state law and turn Nebraska into a winner-take-all state, as is the case with 48 other states. A bill has been drafted and it’s been assigned to a committee. But there have been 10 previous attempts to change the law, and all of them have failed. However, some observers think this time it may happen since Republicans control the legislature and the governor’s office.


“We’ve been such a minority for quite a while, so I don’t look at it as an emotional blow,” added Forsee. “I look at the Republicans in this fashion being a spoiled child: ‘We didn’t get our way, and we didn’t get our vote, and now we’re going to change the rules.’”


“It’s obvious that the majority of citizens of the state of Nebraska are Republicans,” J. L. Spray, the state Republican Party chairman, told the Times. “They want to have the maximum voice in the Electoral College.”

- Danny Biederman, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Blue Dot for Obama Prompts Red Nebraska to Revisit Electoral College Rules (by Mitch Smith, New York Times)

Filibuster Likely To Sink Nebraska's Electoral Votes Winner-Take-All Bill (by Paul Hammel, World-Herald Bureau)


kohler 9 years ago
A survey of Nebraska voters showed 67% overall support for a national popular vote for President. Support by political affiliation was 78% among Democrats, 62% among Republicans, and 63% among others. By congressional district, support for a national popular vote was 65% in the 1st congressional district, 66% in the 2nd district (which voted for Obama in 2008 ; and 72% in the 3rd District. By gender, support for a national popular vote was 76% among women and 59% among men. By age, support for a national popular vote, 73% among 18 - 29 year-olds, 67% among 30 - 45 year-olds, 65% among 46 - 65 year-olds, and 69% among those older than 65. In a 2nd question with a 3-way choice among methods of awarding electoral votes, * 16% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all five electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide). * 27% favored the current system. * 57% favored a national popular vote. Support by political affiliation for a national popular vote was still 65% among Democrats, 53% among Republicans, and 51% among others. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes, and thus the presidency, to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by replacing district or state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes. Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of pre-determined outcomes. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states, like Nebraska, that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions. The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of Electoral College votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). The candidate receiving the most popular votes from all 50 states (and DC) would get all the 270+ electoral votes of the enacting states. The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect. NationalPopularVote

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