Nebraska Secretary of State Gale will not seek re-election

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale says he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Gale has served as the state's top elections official since 2000, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Johanns. His announcement on Monday opens the door to a potentially competitive race to replace him.

Gale's tenure in his office included efforts to increase voter participation, including an expansion of early voting and voting by mail. In 2015, his office launched an online voter registration system. He also spearheaded efforts to improve online services for businesses.

The 76-year-old Gale practiced law in North Platte for 29 years before taking his current job. He also worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Roman Hruska in Washington and an assistant U.S. attorney in Nebraska.