Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Nebraska push on winner-take-all electoral votes takes another hit in Legislature

By 37ci3 Apr6,2024

A renewed effort backed by Donald Trump to change how Nebraska distributes Electoral College votes hit another hurdle Friday as it prepares to wrap up the Legislative session.

Speaker John Arch said on the floor Friday morning that amendments attaching all of the bills to other measures will no longer be taken up because the unicameral body is running out of time to consider the legislation until April 18.

“The time for lawmakers to add a bill is over,” Arch said, according to a copy of his speech shared with NBC News.

Arch’s announcement comes amid recent efforts to add a measure to other pieces of legislation that would change the state’s electoral vote system.

Nebraska is one of only two states that does not award all of its Electoral College votes to a state-carrying presidential candidate. Instead, three of its five electoral votes go to a candidate who holds each of the three congressional districts from the competitive Omaha-based 2nd District, effectively carrying one electoral vote.

Moving to winner-take-all would effectively guarantee Trump all five of Nebraska’s electoral votes in 2024.

State Sen. Loren Lippincott, the sponsor of the winning bill, planned to try to attach the bill to another piece of legislation. a separate attempt to do so in a procedural vote failed late Tuesday. Lippincott’s office did not immediately respond to Arch’s request for comment on the announcement.

While the legislative path forward now appears closed, GOP Gov. Jim Pillen could still call a special session to address the issue.

Pillen’s office also did not respond to a request for comment Friday. But on Thursday evening, he acknowledged that the effort will be uphill, told reporters at the press conference: “We cannot decide a winner-takes-all in 30 hours. It’s been a problem for 30 years. We must win the elections. We have to get into the game.”

Pillen also noted that proponents of winner-take-all lack the support of the 33 lawmakers needed to overcome a filibuster. According to the Nebraska Examiner.

Republicans have long sought to move the state to winner-take-all because usually the GOP candidate wins the state. The effort has gained new momentum in recent days thanks to the national attention garnered by conservative activist Charlie Kirk. Pillen and Trump both urged the Legislature to act after Kirk discussed the system on his podcast this week, but there are only a few legislative days left on the calendar.

The state’s unicameral Legislature is technically nonpartisan, but Republicans hold a 33-seat majority behind state Sen. Mike McDonnell. changed parties this week and joined the GOP. However, McDonnell said he still won’t vote to end debate on the winner-take-all bill.

Lawmakers will continue to face pressure to change the system. Kirk plans to attend a rally in Omaha on Tuesday hosted by the group Turning Point Action.

And on Friday, Kirk forced Pillen to call a special session to resolve the issue.

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By 37ci3

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