Minimum Wage Initiative Qualifies, Political Party Doesn't for Ballot

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LINCOLN, Neb. A petition initiative to increase the minimum wage in Nebraska has met the qualifications to be voted on during the general election.

Secretary of State John Gale says enough verified signatures have been submitted to add the issue to the ballot in November.

At least 80,386 signatures were required to add the petition initiative to the ballot. At least five percent of those who signed had to come from 38 of the state’s 93 counties. “In this case, 89,817 signatures were verified which was more than enough to meet the threshold,” explained Gale.

Gale added that he appreciated the efforts of the county election officials to get this petition and other petitions processed in a timely manner. “They’ve been working hard to ensure that the verification process has gone smoothly, not only for this petition, but the candidate petitions that we have received as well.”

The language that will appear on the ballot is available for viewing on the Secretary of State’s website at the link below.

Gale said the next step will involve formalizing the dates for three public hearings to be held in each of the three congressional districts as well as production of a brochure about the minimum wage initiative that will be distributed to each of the county election offices.

The last petition initiative to appear on a statewide ballot was in 2008 dealing with affirmative action.

The effort by a political party to be included in the general election in Nebraska has failed. The Tax Wall Street Party did not gather enough valid signatures to petition onto the ballot, according to Secretary of State John Gale.

Organizers reported turning in 5,679 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office earlier this month. At least 4,880 valid signatures were needed. Gale said only 4,673 signatures were determined to be valid, meaning that the total number of signatures collected did not meet the necessary threshold.

Additionally, a certain number of signatures were required from each congressional district: 1,656 in District 1; 1,543 in District 2; and 1,681 in District 3. Gale said while enough signatures were collected in Districts 1 and 2, not enough valid signatures were collected in District 3.

“That is one of the statutory requirements for petitioning on the ballot as a new party. Signatures collected in each congressional district must total at least one percent of the votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial race, which was in 2010.”