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Effort in Nebraska to Reinstate Winner-Take-All System for 2024 Presidential Race May Be Lost

Nebraska governor (Credits: Straight Arrow News)

Wednesday’s effort to change how Nebraska awards its Electoral College votes failed. The initiative aimed to allocate all five of the state’s Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins the statewide popular vote. Governor Jim Pillen and former President Donald Trump supported the proposal, but it faced significant setbacks.

State Senator Julie Slama made a last-minute attempt to attach the winner-take-all proposal to an unrelated bill, LB 1300, sparking controversy among lawmakers. Slama accused some of her Republican peers of avoiding a direct vote on the matter, preferring to use the issue to rally voters and donors.

Governor Jim Pillen (Credits: The New York Times)

The argument over whether Slama’s amendment was relevant to the bill it was attached to led to a decisive ruling by Republican State Senator Brad von Gillern, acting as the session’s president. He declared the amendment irrelevant, a decision upheld by a majority.

The push for Nebraska to adopt a winner-take-all system is not new. Proponents argue it’s a matter of fairness, pointing to instances where Democrats won one of Nebraska’s electoral votes in recent elections. However, attempts to make this change have consistently been met with resistance.

This year’s sponsor, State Senator Loren Lippincott, indicated plans to continue the fight by attempting to include the proposal in another bill. Still, the path forward seems increasingly challenging, with some lawmakers suggesting a pause until after the election year.

Jim Pillen (Credits: Omaha World-Herald)

Critics of the change, including State Senators Machaela Cavanaugh and Megan Hunt, argue that Nebraska’s current system, which allows for a split in electoral votes, ensures a more accurate representation of the state’s diverse political views. They see the move toward a winner-take-all system as influenced by external pressures rather than the interests of Nebraskans.

Despite the setback, the debate over how Nebraska awards its Electoral College votes continues to evoke strong opinions on both sides, and discussions will likely persist into future legislative sessions.

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