Nebraska Initiative Petition Filing Deadline Is Here

     Today at 5:00 is the deadline for turning in signatures to put initiatives on the November ballot.

Initiatives to add, repeal, or change laws need 87,000 valid signatures from registered voters while constitutional amendments must have about 124,000.

      Circulators also need signatures from 5% of the registered voters in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

A federal judge last month issued a preliminary injunction against enforcing the requirement, but the 8th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay this week – putting the requirement back into effect.

      The ACLU of Nebraska had challenged the 5% rule on constitutional grounds, arguing it makes the signatures of voters in counties with small populations more valuable than those in big counties.

      ACLU attorney Jane Seu yesterday called the Appeals Court action “a setback,” but said the group is still confident of eventual victory with the possibility that petitions failing to make the 5% rule could still make the ballot as long as they met today’s deadline for overall signatures. 

    A total of 16 measures were given the go-ahead to circulate petitions. Some say they have enough signatures, some say they won’t make it, and several won’t know until after today’s deadline.

 Raise the Wage Nebraska says it’s well over 130,000 signatures for its measure to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026

      Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana is on the bubble. Co-Chair and State Senator Anna Wishart said yesterday they had reached 87,000 signatures on both their petitions after gathering 47,000 in the past 6 weeks, but that might not be enough.

     Virtually every initiative petition ever submitted had some signatures that were disqualified with some having more than 20% tossed. Wishart said they need over 100,000 to have a reasonable cushion. 

A constitutional amendment pushed by Gov Pete Ricketts to require presenting ID to vote may also be on the bubble. Ricketts said recently the effort is still trying to come up with a cushion of its own.