An Omaha businessman wants to run as an independent candidate for State Treasurer, but first he has filed a federal lawsuit againsta new state law that makes running independently a more difficult. Approved in 2016, the law requires would-be- independent candidates to gather roughly 120,000 signatures to be put on the general election ballot, up from only 4,000 signatures before. Would-be-independent candidate for State Treasurer, Kent Bernbeck, claims the dramatic increase is unconstitutional.
“Bottom line; the effects of it was that they shut out anybody who’s an independent, registered voter, who want to challenge one of these state offices…and it’s not right,”
Brenbeck filed his lawsuit Tuesday. He’s being represented by the Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, which makes the same charge against the law.
In a written statement, Spokeswoman for the ACLU, Heidi Uhing says “Voting rights are the cornerstone of our democracy. Nebraska has a long and proud tradition of ensuring fairness in our elections and providing a level playing field for all candidates. In 2016 that changed when our state adopted the most extreme law in the country for independent candidates to access the ballot.”
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report