A most partisan issue divides the officially non-partisan Unicameral along party lines.
Nebraska is a step away from reverting to winner-take-all status in the Electoral College.
At present, only Nebraska and Maine award presidential electoral votes by Congressional district.
Sen. Robert Hilkemann of Omaha argues splitting Nebraska’s five electoral votes by Congressional district is unfair to Nebraska voters.
“Because I believe when it comes to electing the president of the United States that the election process should be uniform in all 50 states,” Hilkemann tells the Unicameral during legislative floor debate.
Nebraska joined Maine in 1991, expecting other states to follow. No other state did. Twice, the legislature has approved returning to winner-take-all status. Twice, Gov. Ben Nelson vetoed the measure.
Efforts to end proportional electoral votes intensified after the 2008 election in which then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, a Democrat, lost the state, yet gained an electoral vote by winning the Second Congressional District of Omaha.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha charges Republicans with playing partisan politics.
“If this bill goes forward then watch what I do the rest of the session,” Chambers warns lawmakers.
Chambers issues a threat.
“LB 10 is the line I’m drawing in the sand. Move it any kind of way and the session is mine,” Chambers declares.
LB 10 does move, first overcoming a filibuster on a 34-15 vote, one more than needed for cloture. Then, lawmakers vote 32-to-15 with two abstaining to give the bill second-round approval. It needs to clear one more round of voting to move on to Gov. Pete Ricketts’ desk.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min.]