Secretary of State John Gale has formally kicked off his campaign for re-election.
Gale, a Republican, says increasing voter turn-out remains a top priority of his as he seeks his fourth term in office.
“We still find it to be a challenge in convincing a greater majority of our citizens to vote,” Gale tells reporters at a Capitol news conference. “I think a vibrant, robust democracy requires the highest possible turnout and participation of our citizens.”
Gale suggests that expanding the use of mail-in balloting would increase the number of Nebraskans casting ballots.
“I think the time has come to allow that to be a statewide program so that every county of any size can select to designate smaller, rural precincts for mail-in ballots. In every instance where we’ve had that choice, the people have been very, very supportive and turnout has significantly increased in those rural precincts,” according to Gale.
State law limits mail-in only voting to counties with populations under 10,000. Nebraska has 58 all-mail precincts out of 14-Hundred statewide.
Gale prefers expansion of mail-in balloting to a move toward high-tech voting.
“It may well be that we’ll be looking at potential mail-in ballot statewide for major elections before we ever get to Internet voting, which still has not been established as being secure and safe and free from fraud.”
Gale first became Secretary of State in 2000 upon appointment by then-Governor Mike Johanns.
In addition to overseeing elections, the Secretary of State issues licenses to businesses, manages state records, educates youth on their civic responsibilities and serves as Nebraska’s chief protocol officer for international relations.
AUDIO: Secretary of State John Gale formally announces his candidacy for re-election during news conference at the Capitol. [3 min.]