Nebraska Secretary of State

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Nebraska Secretary of State
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-13 FY Budget:  $444,708
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Nebraska Constitution, Article IV, Section I
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

John Gale.jpg
Name:  John A. Gale
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  2000
Compensation:  $85,000
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Nebraska Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorCommissioner of EducationAgriculture DirectorInsurance DirectorNatural Resources DirectorLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Secretary of State for Nebraska has responsibilities over the following areas: elections, business services, occupational licensing, state rules and regulations, records management, international relations and youth civics programs. The secretary of state is the keeper of the Great Seal of the State of Nebraska, and the office is the repository for official state documents.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is John A. Gale. He was first elected to the statewide governmental position in 2002 and was subsequently re-elected in 2006 and 2010. After graduating from law school, Gale served as Legislative assistant to United States Senator Roman Hruska in Washington D.C. in 1968. He returned to Nebraska in 1970, taking on the role of Assistant United State Attorney in the state for a year. Gale then moved to North Platte in 1971 and started his own law practice, operating it for twenty-nine years until December 2000 when he was appointed by Governor Mike Johanns to fill a vacancy created with the resignation of Scott Moore.[1]


The state Constitution addresses the office of secretary of state in Article IV, the Executive Department.

Under Article IV, Section I:

The executive officers of the state shall be the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of Public Accounts, State Treasurer, Attorney General, and the heads of such other executive departments as set forth herein or as may be established by law.


There are no specific qualifications for this office.


Nebraska state government organizational chart
See also: States with gubernatorial term limits, State legislatures with term limits

The Office of Secretary of State is a publicly elected position with elections held every four years. Elections are held in November and officers assume their duties the following January. There are no term limits. (Nebraska Constitution, Article IV § 1)



See also: Nebraska Secretary of State election, 2014
Secretary of State of Nebraska, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Gale Incumbent 75.2% 368,135
     Libertarian Ben Backus 24.8% 121,470
Total Votes 489,605
Election Results via Nebraska Secretary of State.


See also: Nebraska Secretary of State election, 2010

On November 2, 2010, John A. Gale won re-election to the office of Nebraska Secretary of State. He defeated Janet Stewart in the general election.

Nebraska Secretary of State, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn A. Gale Incumbent 69.8% 326,661
     Democratic Janet Stewart 30.2% 141,334
Total Votes 467,995
Election Results Via: Nebraska Secretary of State


On November 7, 2006, John A. Gale won re-election to the office of Nebraska Secretary of State. He defeated Jay C. Stoddard and Doug Paterson in the general election.

Nebraska Secretary of State, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn A. Gale Incumbent 63.4% 337,064
     Democratic Jay C. Stoddard 34.7% 184,753
     Green Party Doug Paterson 1.9% 9,897
Total Votes 531,714
Election Results Via: Secretary of State - Official Results 2006 General Election


On November 5, 2002, John A. Gale won re-election to the office of Nebraska Secretary of State. He defeated Jay C. Stoddard, Joseph A. Rosber, and Tudor Lewis in the general election.

Nebraska Secretary of State, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn A. Gale Incumbent 62.1% 274,441
     Democratic Jay C. Stoddard 29.7% 131,254
     Independent Joseph A. Rosber 6.2% 27,400
     Libertarian Tudor Lewis 2% 8,839
Total Votes 441,934
Election Results Via: Secretary of State - Official Results 2002 General Election


As established by Article IV, Section 11 of the Nebraska Constitution, in the event of a vacancy in the office of secretary of state, the governor fills the office by appointment. The appointee serves until a successor is elected and qualified.


The secretary of state serves as the chief election officer of the state. The Elections Division is responsible for the election process in Nebraska. Duties include accepting filings and tabulating results for statewide, legislative, judicial retention and certain district elections; accepting filings for statewide initiative and referendum petitions; administering election law; and supervising the conduct of elections. The division is responsible for implementing reforms under the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

Voter Information

The secretary of state is also charged with the duty to educate the voters in Nebraska. This is does though the Voter Information Pamphlet, Public Hearings and publication of the ballot.

Role in the initiative process

The first step in filing an initiative in Nebraska is to submit a copy of the text and the object clause for the petition to the secretary of state's office. The sponsor also needs to supply a sworn list of sponsors when submitting the initiative.

The secretary of state then sends the language to the Revisor of Statutes who reviews the language to see if it fits into the constitution or statutes clearly and uniformly. This process must be completed within 10 days before it must be returned to the Secretary of State. Sponsors are informed of the recommended changes by the secretary of state but may choose to accept or reject the office's suggestions. These changes remain confidential for the duration of the 5 day review but are released as public record after the language is settled.

Once the final form is given to the sponsor the language of the measure may not be changed or it becomes necessary the entire process must start again.

Signature Verification

When sponsors submit the petitions to the secretary of state, they must submit it no less than four months prior to the general election with all the signatures separated by county. The secretary of state will then check that there are at least the minimum required amount of signatures before beginning the verification process.

If there are enough signatures the petitions are sent to the local election officials to be compared with he voter registration records. This process must be completed in 40 days after receiving the signatures, though in some circumstances an additional 10 days is allowed.

When the signatures are verified, the measure is placed on the general election ballot.


There are seven main divisions within the office of the Secretary of State:[2]

  • Elections
  • Business registrations
  • Occupational licensing
  • State rules and regulations
  • Records management
  • International relations
  • Youth civics programs

State budget

See also: Nebraska state budget and finances

The budget for the Secretary of State's office in Fiscal Year 2012-13 was $444,708.[3]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

The salaries of elected executive officials are set by the Nebraska State Legislature as mandated by the state constitution. Article IV, Section 25 states the following:

The officers provided for in this article shall receive such salaries as may be provided by law. Such officers, or such other officers as may be provided for by law, shall not receive for their own use any fees, costs, or interest upon public money in their hands.


In 2014, the secretary earned a salary of $85,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[4]


In 2013, the secretary's salary remained at $85,000.[5]


In 2012, the secretary was paid an estimated $85,000 according to the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There were four Secretaries of Nebraska Territory from 1854-1867.[6]

There have been 26 Nebraska Secretaries of State since 1867. Of the 26 officeholders, 21 were Republican, four were Democratic and one was Democratic/Populist.

Recent news

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Nebraska Secretary of State News Feed

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Contact information

Capitol Address:
Nebraska Secretary of State
Post Office Box 94608
Lincoln, NE 68509-4608

Phone: (402) 471-2554
Fax: (402) 471-3237

See also

External links

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