A petition drive is underway on an extremely emotional issue and Nebraska’s top election authority is watching closely to ensure all rights are protected.
Workers have fanned out across Nebraska asking registered voters to sign petitions to place the death penalty on the ballot next November.
Opponents plan to counter the effort.
Secretary of State John Gale finds his office playing referee.
“Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is protect the rights of the citizen to be well-informed, to know what they’re doing, and how to do it and get it done right,” Gale tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Pro death penalty petitioners have the right to ask you to sign their petitions. Opponents have the right to try to persuade you not to.
Neither side has the right to coerce, harass, or intimidate.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, circulators must gather approximately 57,000 signatures of registered voters to place the issue on the November ballot next year. The signatures must be 5% of the registered voters from 38 counties.
If circulators gather 10% of the registered voters, between 114,000 and 115,000 signatures, they can block LB 268 from going into effect.
Gale says he’s keeping in close contact with county officials, including county attorneys to determine if everyone is playing fair.
“Many times, we’ll get the report or the county election official will get the call, saying this is happening, this shouldn’t be happening, and somebody is violating my rights,” Gale says.
August 27th is the deadline for the signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]