Petition drives have a little over a month to qualify for November ballot
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - There are more than just candidates on the November ballot. With enough signatures, there will be multiple ballot initiatives as well.
As of Thursday, there are just 35 days left to submit those signatures and activists still need to gather thousands more.
According to the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office, there are 16 petition drives that at least registered to try to qualify for the November 2022 ballot, but it’s likely a bulk of them won’t make it. Those who spoke with 10/11 Now on Thursday said it takes upwards of a million dollars and hundreds of workers, many of them volunteers.
There are rules that every petition drive has to follow in Nebraska. In the case of a proposed constitutional amendment, like the one for a voter I.D. requirement in Nebraska, petitioners must collect signatures from 10% of registered Nebraska voters and included in that, at least 5% of voters in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.
“We have dozens if not over a hundred signature collectors mobilized in both urban and rural Nebraska working to achieve the goal of qualifying the necessary 38 Nebraska counties,” said State Senator Julie Slama.
Slama is spearheading this petition drive. If it gets on that ballot and it passes, Nebraska voters would have to present a valid photo I.D. to be able to vote. Slama said Thursday they’re on track to meet their signature goal.
“This is common sense election security measure that’s supported by Nebraskans of both parties so I’m confident when we get the necessary number of signatures to qualify it for the ballot, Nebraska voters will support it into the ballot box in November,” Slama said.
Also aiming for that November ballot is the group Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana who wants to see medical marijuana legalized. It said following a series of setbacks it’s gaining traction again. In the past two weeks, it’s collected over 40,000 signatures and qualified more than 15 counties. Currently, the campaign has a combined total of 80,000 signatures across its two petitions, but that’s only about half the total they need.
“We also have started ramping up an internal paid volunteer campaign and that is individuals that are looking to make a dollar a valid signature we are ready to get them started,” said Crista Eggers the petition drives coordinator.
The group also filed a lawsuit in federal court last month, objecting to the rule that they would have to qualify 38 of 93 counties, saying it gives more weight to voters in rural areas. Eggers said she can’t comment on how the proceedings are going, but that they are keeping it in the back of their minds.
“There’s no celebrating until we’re able to check that box in November once and for all in Nebraska,” Eggers said.
Another petition drive that’s gathered some apparent traction leading up to the election is a measure that would raise the minimum wage in Nebraska. If passed, it would gradually increase to $15 an hour by 2026.
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