Bernbeck v. Moore

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Bernbeck v. Moore was a federal lawsuit ultimately decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on October 9, 1997. The vote was 3-0. The federal court upheld a lower federal court by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf that struck down a Nebraska law that required petitioners to be registered voters in Nebraska for at least 30 days before circulating an initiative petition. The court ruled that the voter registration requirement was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. After the lower federal court ruling, the decision was unsuccessfully appealed to the Eighth Circuit by the state of Nebraska.

The voter registration requirement was a way of imposing a residency requirement.


Kent Bernbeck was the plaintiff, along with co-plaintiffs Stan Dobrovolny, Richard Bellino, Angela Crouse, Gwen Kutschkau and Betty Cowart. The apellants were people who had either organized petition drives or who sought to circulate petitions, who were hampered by the law that was challenged. The defendant was Scott Moore, in his capacity as Nebraska Secretary of State.

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