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Testimony in Support of Bill To Allow Manual Recounts In Nebraska PDF  | Print |  Email
Nebraska
By Don Eret, former Nebraska State Senator   
February 08, 2006
On January 19, 2006, the Nebraska Legislature’s Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing on LB 1013, a bill that would allow for a manual recount. Currently manual recounts are effectively prohibited in the state’s election code. The committee in a 6-0-2 vote indefinitely postponed action on the bill.

I have an understanding of the elective franchise that is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution to every citizen of good standing. The elective franchise was granted to women in the United States in 1920. That franchise as more clearly defined by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires that all votes must be counted and properly tabulated and be subject to a ballot audit in a contested election or in an election recount.

Some states have an election statute that provides a candidate the right to request a manual recount of ballots. Nebraska statute 32-1121, to provide a recount to a losing candidate, allows only for an electronic recount of the ballots.

The bill before us today, LB 1013, would provide the option for a candidate to request a manual recount. This would then provide a true audit as intended by the elective franchise and as further required by the Voting Rights Act.

The Help America vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 still further emphasizes the requirement that ballot audit provision be made for a manual recount. This requirement under Section 301 of the Act states this to be mandatory for federal elections starting in 2006.
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Why Are Hand Counts Illegal in Nebraska? PDF  | Print |  Email
Nebraska
By Warren Stewart, Director of Legislative Issues and Policy, VoteTrustUSA   
January 23, 2006
Unique among the states, Nebraska actually prohibits hand recounts in counties that use voting machines for their original tally.

Nebraska State Senator Jeanne Combs has introduced LB 1013 into Nebraska's unicameral legislature to amends the state election code to allow a candidate to request a manual recount. Yes, that's right, it is currently illegal for to the votes of Nebraska citizens to be counted by other Nebraska citizens - they can only be county by machines built and programmed by Election Systems and Software (ES&S). The fact that ES&S is based in Omaha does not make this situation any less absurd.

The provision, established in 2002, reads:
The procedures for the recounting of ballots shall be the same as those used for the counting of ballots on election day...Counties counting ballots by using a vote counting device shall first recount the ballots by use of the device. If substantial changes are found, the ballots shall then be counted using such device in any precinct which might reflect a substantial change.
Election reform activists were generally pleased when Nebraska Secreatry of State John Gale announced last Fall that the state would retain their paper ballot voting system. Paper ballots are inherently voter verified and provide the most reliable method of preserving the intent of the voter and a means of verifying the accuracy of electronic machines used for counting providing a safety net in the case of machine malfunction and ensuring confidence in the integrity of the election process.

But that confidence is lost if you can’t actually count those paper ballots by hand.
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Nebraska Keeps Their Paper Ballots PDF  | Print |  Email
Nebraska
By Warren Stewart, Director of Legislative Issues and Policy, VoteTrustUSA   
October 25, 2005
Nebraska has joined the ranks of states that have decided to stay all paper in an announcemnt by Secretary of State John Gale that the state would purchase ballot marking devices to comply with disabled accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Each polling site in the state also will be equipped with a special terminal to allow people with disabilities be able to cast unassisted and private ballots. The recently ordered equipment —  690 large optical scanners, 172 precinct scanners and 1,366 Automark machines — should be in place for the May 9, 2006, primary.

According to news reports, the equipment also got the blessing of an advisory group that included representatives of disability-related organizations. The Automark was demonstrated at the National Federation for the Blind Nebraska convention in September.

"While some states have converted 100 percent to electronic machines for voters to cast ballots, Nebraska has chosen to continue to base its election system on the paper ballot," Gale commented in a news report after the announcement. "A paper-ballot system has a lot of advantages," Gale continued, "it's reliable and cost-effective, voters find it easy to use, and the ability to conduct accurate recounts is preserved."
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Nebraska Election Administration Information PDF  | Print |  Email
Nebraska
By VoteTrustUSA   
July 22, 2005
Chief State Elections Official

John Gale (Elected, R), Secretary of State
State Capitol, Suite 2300
Lincoln, Nebraska  68509-4608
URL http://www.sos.state.ne.us
E-Mail:
402/471-2554   FAX 402/471-3237

Public Office Experience:  State Chairman of the Nebraska State Republican Party, 1986-1998
Reelection Date: 2006


Responsibilities: Prescribes voter registration forms, Determines ballot eligibility of parties, Approves new voting systems/ devices, Advertises statewide ballot questions, Prepares election calendar, Canvasses election returns. Handles state recounts.

CED: Neal Erickson, Director of Elections
Secondary Officials:  State Canvassing Board (Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Attorney General)
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