Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Nebraska

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Ballot Access Requirements for Candidates
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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of Nebraska. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in Nebraska. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included. This page reflects research completed in April 2014.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

The Nebraska Legislature is the only state legislature in the United States that operates as a unicameral body. Consequently, the legislature is often referred to as "the unicameral" or "the uni" by state residents (see "State legislature" below for more information). It is also the only legislature that specifically requires candidates to run on nonpartisan ballots.

Year-specific dates

2014

See also: Nebraska elections, 2014

Nebraska held a primary election on May 13, 2014. The state will hold a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The filing deadline for incumbents wishing to run for re-election was February 18, 2014. For non-incumbent candidates, the deadline to file was March 3, 2014. The deadline to file as a new political party in time for the primary election was February 3, 2014 (August 1, 2014 if filing to participate only in the general election).[1]

Legend:      Ballot Access     Campaign Finance     Election Date




Dates and requirements for candidates in 2014
Deadline Event type Event description
February 3, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline to create a new political party in time for the primary election
February 18, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for incumbents to participate in the primary
March 3, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for non-incumbents to participate in the primary
April 14, 2014 Campaign finance First primary statement (through April 8)
May 5, 2014 Campaign finance Second primary statement (April 9 through April 28)
May 13, 2014 Election date Primary election date
June 23, 2014 Campaign finance Post-primary statement (April 29 through June 17)
August 1, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline to create a new political party in time for the general election
September 2, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for independents filing for office by petition and new political party candidates
October 6, 2014 Campaign finance First general statement (June 18 through September 30)
October 27, 2014 Campaign finance Second general statement (October 1 through October 20)
November 4, 2014 Election date General election
January 13, 2015 Campaign finance Post-general statement (October 21 through December 31)

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of January 2014, there are three recognized political parties in Nebraska.[2][3] To be officially recognized by the state, a party must fulfill certain requirements (detailed below, under "Process to establish a political party").

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Libertarian http://www.lpne.org/ National party by-laws
Republican http://negop.org/ Party platform
Democratic http://www.nebraskademocrats.org/ Party platform

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. Nebraska[4] does not allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[5]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 32, Sections 716 - 717 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes

New political parties must petition the Secretary of State for recognition. Petitions must meet the following requirements (for further information regarding petition requirements, see below):[6]

  • Signature requirements
    • Total signatures needed: at least 1 percent of the total votes cast for Governor at the most recent general election
    • Other provisions: signatures must include "registered voters totaling at least 1 percent of the votes cast for Governor in the most recent gubernatorial election in each of the three congressional districts in the state." For example, in 2010, 487,988 were cast for governor, meaning a petition for party formation would have to contain at least 4,880 valid signatures.[7]
  • Deadlines
    • To qualify for participation in the primary election: February 1 of the election year
    • To qualify for participation in the general election: August 1 of the election year (candidates of new political parties must file for access to the general election ballot by September 1)[8]
  • Other requirements
    • "Petition signers and petition circulators shall conform to the requirements of sections 32-629 and 32-630."
    • "Prior to the circulation of petitions to form a new political party, a sample copy of the petitions shall be filed with the Secretary of State by the person, group, or association seeking to establish the new party. The sample petition shall be accompanied by the name and address of the person or the names and addresses of the members of the group or association sponsoring the petition to form a new political party."

The Secretary of State will determine within 10 days whether the petition is valid and sufficient. If so, the Secretary of State will issue a certification establishing the new party. Within the next 20 days, the party must submit its constitution and bylaws, as well as a certified list of the names and addresses of the party's new officers.[9] There is no formal start date for the circulation of party formation petitions.[10]

Once a party gains access to the ballot, a candidate nominated by the party must poll at least 5 percent of the entire vote in the state in a statewide race, or a combination of candidates from a combination of districts encompassing all the voters of the state must poll at least 5 percent of the vote in each of their respective districts.[11] For example, in 2010, 487,988 were cast for governor.[12] In order for a newly established political party to maintain its recognized status, its candidate for governor would have had to win 24,400 votes.

Events

2013

On November 20, 2013, Americans Elect requested that the Nebraska Secretary of State remove the party from qualified status in the state. First qualifying for state recognition in 2012, Americans Elect did not yield any candidates for office in Nebraska.[13][14]

Process to become a candidate

Figure 1: This is a filing form for nonpartisan candidates running for election in Nebraska.
See also: Nebraska signature requirements
Quick facts about Lieutenant Governors
  • 45 states have Lt. governors, 43 of them fill the office by election
  • 21 states, including Nebraska, elect Lt. governors on a single ticket with the governor at both the primary and general elections
  • 5 states elect Lt. governors separately from Governors at the primary and then put the top two vote-getters together on the general election ballot
  • 17 states elect Lt. governors separately from the Governor

For all candidates

According to the Office of the Secretary of State, all prospective candidates must complete and submit a candidate filing form (which includes a candidate statement that must be signed) and provide for payment of the filing fee. For state offices, candidates must submit a statement of financial interests. Federal candidates must submit a financial statement according to FEC instructions.[15][16]

Filing fees vary by office and are established by Chapter 32, Section 608 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes:[17][18]

Office How the fee is determined Fee for 2014
U.S. Senator or U.S. Representatives 1% of the office's annual salary $1,740
Governor 1% of the office's annual salary $1,050
Secretary of State 1% of the office's annual salary $850
State Auditor 1% of the office's annual salary $850
State Treasurer 1% of the office's annual salary $850
Attorney General 1% of the office's annual salary $950
Public Service Commissioner 1% of the office's annual salary $750
State Senator 1% of the office's annual salary $120

If the office for which the candidate is filing pays only a per diem (i.e., an allowance for expenses incurred as a result of fulfilling an office's duties) or a salary of less than $500 per year, the filing fee will be waived. In addition, no filing fee is required of any candidate who completes an affidavit requesting to file in forma pauperis (i.e., a person whose "income and other resources for maintenance" are found to be insufficient for meeting the cost of his or her requirements and whose cash or other available resources do not exceed the maximum available resources that an eligible individual may own").[17]

For partisan candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 32, Section 610 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes

To be eligible for inclusion on a partisan primary ballot, the candidate must be a registered voter of the party, if so required. Partisan candidates must complete the aforementioned paperwork and pay the filing fees required of all candidates.[19]

For independent candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 32, Section 616 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes

Any registered voter who was not a candidate in the primary election and who was not registered to vote with a party affiliation on or before March 1 in the calendar year of the general election may have his or her name placed on the general election ballot either by petition or nomination by political party convention or committee. The number of signatures required for nominating petitions varies by office (see below table for more information).[20][21]

Office Number of signatures required
Nonpartisan office (including state legislators) filled by registered voters of a county or political subdivision 10% of the total number of registered voters voting for Governor or President at the most recent general election; not to exceed 2,000
Board of Regents At least 10% of the total number of registered voters voting for Governor or President at the most recent general election; not to exceed 1,000
Class III school district At least 20% of the total number of votes cast for the board member receiving the highest number of votes at the most recent general election in the school district
Partisan office filled by registered voters of the entire state At least 4,000 signatures, of which at least 750 signatures must be obtained in each congressional district in the state
Partisan office filled by registered voters of a county or political subdivision At least 20% of the total vote for Governor or President at the most recent general election within the county or subdivision; not to exceed 2,000

For further information regarding petition requirements, see below.

Petition requirements

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 32, Section 628 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain access to the ballot. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators in Nebraska.

All petitions must meet specific formal requirements.[22]

  • Formatting requirements
    • Space for signature must be at least 2.5 inches long; space for written name must be least 2 inches long.
    • Sufficient space must be left for birth date and address.
    • Lines on each petition cannot be less than 0.25 inches apart.
    • Petitions may be designed so that lines for signatures and other information run the length of the page instead of the width.
    • Petitions should include no more than 20 signatures per page.
  • Language requirements
    • Every sheet of every petition containing signatures must include the following statements "printed in boldface type in substantially the following form":
      • "WARNING TO PETITION SIGNERS—€”VIOLATION OF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS OF LAW MAY RESULT IN THE FILING OF CRIMINAL CHARGES: Any person who signs any name other than his or her own to any petition or who is not qualified to sign the petition shall be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor. Any person who falsely swears to a circulator's affidavit on a petition, who accepts money or other things of value for signing a petition, or who offers money or other things of value in exchange for a signature upon any petition shall be guilty of a Class IV felony."
      • [Name of circulator], being first duly sworn, deposes and says that he or she is the circulator of this petition containing [...] signatures, that he or she is at least eighteen years of age, that each person whose name appears on the petition personally signed the petition in the presence of the affiant, that the date to the left of each signature is the correct date on which the signature was affixed to the petition and that the date was personally affixed by the person signing such petition, that the affiant believes that each signer has written his or her name, street and number or voting precinct, and city, village, or post office address correctly, that the affiant believes that each signer was qualified to sign the petition, and that the affiant stated to each signer the object of the petition as printed on the petition before he or she affixed his or her signature to the petition.
Circulator:
Address:
Subscribed and sworn to before me, a notary public, this [date] day of [month] 20 [year] at [location], Nebraska.
Notary Public:

Petition circulators must be at least 18 years old.[23]

The relevant statutes do not stipulate a date on which petitions may begin to circulate.

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act (NPADA)

Once a candidate for state or local office raises, receives or spends $5,000 or more in a calendar year, he or she must register the candidate committee (which consists, at minimum, of the candidate) with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission by submitting a Statement of Organization and paying a $100 filing fee.[24][25]

When a candidate forms a committee, he or she must appoint a treasurer (the candidate may serve in this role) and establish an account in a Nebraska financial institution as an official depository for all contributions received. All expenditures to support the candidate's election must be made from this account.[26][27]

Candidates are required to submit regular finance reports during primary and general election campaigns. These statements must include the following information:[28]

  • The committee's name, address and telephone number, as well as the full name, residential and business addresses and telephone numbers of the committee's treasurer
  • Under the heading "Receipts":
    • The total amount of contributions received during the period covered by the statement
  • Under the heading "Expenditures":
    • The total amount of expenditures made during the period covered by the statement
  • The cumulative amount of these totals for the election period
  • The balance of cash and equivalents on hand at the beginning and end of the period covered by the statement
  • The full name, address, amount and date of contribution and cumulative contribution total for each individual whose contributions totaled more than $250 during the period covered by the report
  • The full name and street address of each person to whom expenditures totaling more than $250 were made, as well as the date and amount of each separate expenditure to each such person during the period covered by the statement; purpose of expenditure must also be noted

Note: This is not an exhaustive list. For complete information, see Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act, Section 49-1455.

Filing due dates for 2014 are as follows:[26]

Deadline Report Reporting period
April 14, 2014 First primary statement Through April 8, 2014
May 5, 2014 Second primary statement April 9 through April 28, 2014
June 23, 2014 Post-primary statement April 29 through June 17, 2014
October 6, 2014 First general statement June 18 through September 30, 2014
October 27, 2014 Second general statement October 1 through October 20, 2014
January 13, 2015 Post-general statement October 21 through December 31, 2014

Contribution limits

There are no limits on financial contributions to candidates in Nebraska.[29][30]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office may require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • Nebraska Secretary of State
Why: To complete and submit the required candidate filing form; to pay requisite filing fees; to submit Statement of Financial Interests
Physical address: State Capitol, Third Floor, 1445 K Street, Lincoln, NE 68508-2731
Mailing address: P.O. Box 94608, Lincoln, NE 68509-4608
Telephone: 402.471.2555
Fax: 402.471.7834
Email: sos.elect@ne.gov
http://www.sos.ne.gov/
  • The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission
Why: For help completing the Statement of Financial Interests
Physical address: State Capitol Building, 11th Floor, Lincoln, NE 68509
Mailing address: P.O. Box 95086, Lincoln, NE 68509
Telephone: 402-471-2522
http://nadc.nol.org/

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits, States with gubernatorial term limits and Nebraska state executive official elections, 2014

The state executive term limits in Nebraska are as follows:[31]

  • Governor of Nebraska may serve two consecutive terms but then must wait four years after the term expires to serve again.
  • Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska may serve two consecutive terms but then must wait four years after the term expires to serve again.
  • Nebraska Treasurer may serve two consecutive terms but then must wait four years after the term expires to serve again.

The state executives who are term-limited in 2014 are:

Name Party Office
Dave Heineman Ends.png Republican Governor
Rick Sheehy Ends.png Republican Lieutenant Governor

State legislature

See also: State legislatures with term limits

Nebraska voters approved a constitutional amendment on November 7, 2000 that prohibits state legislators from serving more than two consecutive four-year terms. After four years have passed since the end of their most recent term, legislators may serve again.[32]

The Nebraska Legislature was initially a bicameral body. Nebraska politician George Norris argued for a unicameral legislature, citing inefficiencies and inequities in the bicameral system as cause for making the transition. In 1934, a constitutional amendment was passed revoking the House of Representatives and vesting that body's duties and powers with the Senate. Formally designated as the Nebraska Legislature, the body is more commonly referred to as "the Unicameral." State legislators are usually called "senators."[33]

2014

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2014

Seventeen members of the nonpartisan Nebraska Legislature will be termed out in 2014. They are:

Name Party Senate District
Amanda McGill Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 26
Annette Dubas Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 34
Bill Avery Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 28
Brad Ashford Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 20
Danielle Conrad Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 46
Greg Adams Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 24
John Harms Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 48
John Nelson Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 6
John Wightman Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 36
Mark Christensen Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 44
Norm Wallman Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 30
Pete Pirsch Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 4
Russ Karpisek Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 32
Scott Lautenbaugh Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 18
Steve Lathrop Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 12
Thomas Hansen Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 42
Tom Carlson Grey.png Nonpartisan Senate District 38

2012

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2012

Eight state senators were termed out in 2012.

2010

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2010

One state senator was termed out in 2010.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from Nebraska and List of United States Senators from Nebraska

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Nebraska:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Nebraska
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 0 0 0
     Republican Party 2 3 5
TOTALS as of July 2014 2 3 5

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

The Nebraska Legislature is a nonpartisan body.

See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

News

Other information

References

  1. Official Election Calendar for the State of Nebraska, accessed November 18, 2014
  2. Consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger on January 6, 2014
  3. Ballotpedia phone call with Nebraska Secretary of State Office on September 12, 2013
  4. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 617," accessed December 3, 2013
  5. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  6. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 716," accessed December 2, 2013
  7. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the States of Nebraska - General Election, November 2, 2010," accessed December 30, 2013
  8. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 621," accessed January 6, 2014
  9. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 717," accessed December 2, 2013
  10. Correspondence with the Nebraska Secretary of State Elections Division in December 2013.
  11. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 610," accessed December 12, 2013
  12. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the States of Nebraska - General Election, November 2, 2010," accessed December 30, 2013
  13. Omaha.com, "Without a single candidate to back, little-known political party calls it quits in Nebraska," December 3, 2013
  14. Ballot Access News, "Americans Elect removed from Nebraska ballot," December 3, 2013
  15. Nebraska Secretary of State, "2014 Candidates Filing for Federal Office," accessed December 2, 2013
  16. Nebraska Secretary of State, "2014 Candidates Filing for State Office," accessed December 2, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 608," accessed December 2, 2013
  18. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Filing Fee Schedule for 2014," accessed December 2, 2013
  19. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 610," accessed December 1, 2013
  20. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 616," accessed December 3, 2013
  21. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 618," accessed December 12, 2013
  22. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 628," accessed January 2, 2014
  23. Nebraska Revised Statutes, "Chapter 32, Section 629," accessed January 2, 2014
  24. Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, "Candidates - General Information for the Public," accessed December 9, 2013
  25. Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act, "Section 49-1445," accessed December 9, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, "2014 Candidate Brochure," accessed December 9, 2013
  27. Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act, "Section 49-1446," accessed December 9, 2013
  28. Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act, "Section 49-1455," accessed January 2, 2014
  29. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Limits on Contributions to Candidates," updated October 2013
  30. Lincoln Journal-Star, "Supreme Court overturns campaign finance law," August 3, 2012
  31. Nebraska Constitution, "Article IV Sections 1-3," accessed November 18, 2013
  32. Nebraska Constitution, "Article III, Section 12," accessed November 18, 2013
  33. Nebraska Council of School Administrators, "Unicameral History," accessed December 4, 2013