Deadline passes as major Nebraska petition drives turn in signatures
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Coalitions across Nebraska had to turn in their petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office by 5 p.m. on Thursday. The groups said they each collected more than 150,000 signatures from almost every county in Nebraska.
Raise the Wage Nebraska, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana and Citizens for Voter ID were all out Thursday to spread the word and collect last minute signatures. All three groups believe they collected enough signatures to qualify for the November general election.
Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana turned in around 182,000 total signatures for their two petitions. They needed 87,000 for each to qualify and are hoping enough will be verified by the Secretary of State. Organizers said they got signatures from 92 out of 93 counties in Nebraska, but aren’t sure if they will meet the 5% of registered voters from 38 counties threshold, which is a requirement currently working its way through the court system.
“It’s close,” State Senator Anna Wishart said. “It’s very close; almost painfully close.”
Another coalition hoping to be on the ballot is Raise the Wage Nebraska. They collected signatures all over the state to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.
They say with the cost of housing, childcare and food all rising, people can’t get by one $9 an hour anymore.
“Many Nebraskans are working two or three jobs just to get by,” said supporter and petition signer Cindy Meyer. “A higher wage could mean spending more time with our kids and just getting the chance to live.”
Celebrating at the Capitol building Thursday was Citizens for Voter ID. If it’s on the ballot in November, you will be voting for Nebraskans to have to show a form of photo ID to vote. State Senator Julie Slama said it’s the most common sense way to make sure our elections are free and fair.
“We protect so many facets of every day life with a simple ID,” Slama said. “A voter ID requirement adds some additional layer of security to ensure that those voters are who they say they are.”
According to the Secretary of State’s office, counties now have 40 days to verify signatures and requirements, and can request an extra 10 if needed. The general election ballot needs certified by September 16.
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