A measure to return Nebraska to a winner-take-all presidential elector state barely cleared one filibuster, but couldn’t muster the votes to clear a second.
LB 10 has been defeated for the session when supporters failed by two votes to end a filibuster mounted against it.
Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, the bill’s sponsor, got the necessary 33 votes to end the first filibuster that ran eight hours during the first round of debate. He lost the support of two state senators on the second round, failing to cut off debate and force a vote.
Nebraska and Maine remain the only two states that award electors by Congressional districts.
During floor debate, McCoy pointed out what Nebraska had assumed was a trend never materialized.
“Maine went the way of a district-method of apportionment in 1969. We followed suit in 1991,” McCoy told colleagues. “It has not been a trend. It hasn’t happened in any other state. It hasn’t even gotten close in any other state.”
Under LB 10, Nebraska would have reverted to the winner-take-all format used by 48 states. The presidential candidate who wins the state wins all of its electoral votes. Each state gets two electoral votes for its two United States Senators and one for each Congressional district.
The leading critic of the bill, Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, stated during debate the current system of awarding electoral votes by Congressional district has worked for Nebraska.
“When there was an opportunity for a candidate for president to pick up that one electoral vote in Douglas County and environs that candidate came to Nebraska,” Chambers stated. “Not only did that candidate pick up that vote, that candidate became the president of the United States.”
The only time the split vote has come into play was 2008 when Democrat Barack Obama received an electoral vote from the Second Congressional District, even though Republican John McCain easily won the state.