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State lawmaker promotes making Nebraska a ‘winner-take-all’ state

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 7:05 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska has split electoral votes for 30 years now, but there’s new opposition against the idea.

State Sen. Julie Slama wants to make Nebraska a ‘winner take all’ state. Nebraska currently has two state electoral votes while the other three are split among the Congressional districts.

Nebraska and Maine are the only two states to split presidential electoral votes.

Sen. Slama said, “This format was built to be the election structure of the future, but since then, no other states in the country have adopted this method.”

Since the state started splitting electoral votes in 1992, only two elections have had votes split.

In 2008 for former President Barack Obama and in 2020 for President Biden. Both won Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional district.

“Returning to the ‘winner take all’ system is simply the fairest way to give every single Nebraska voter an equal say in all 5 of our electoral votes,” Sen. Slama said.

The Nebraska Republican Party was the only group in favor of the bill.

Executive director Ryan Hamilton said, “The reality is the basis of this push is fairness.”

But, more than a dozen people opposed the bill Wednesday. One of them was DiAnna Schimek, a former state senator who helped start Nebraska’s current electoral system.

Schimek said, “This is a state with a small but very diverse population and it is important that citizens feel that they have a chance to make their voices heard.”

Schimek helped start this before the 1992 election. She said going back to Nebraska being a ‘winner-take-all’ state doesn’t make it fair for certain populations.

“It encourages more people to vote and that is very important in this deep personalization of politics,” Schimek said.

Founder of the Black Votes Matter group, Preston Love, Jr., said the current system isn’t broken so why should the state fix it.

“It’s worked well and for those of us who have color in our skin, we feel that we are a part of this system and our vote counts,” Love, Jr. said.

The Government, Military, and Veteran Affairs Committee will have to vote to determine if this bill goes to the Senate floor for its first reading.

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