Gov “concerned” Nebraska could again split electoral vote
May 22nd, 2012
Omaha, NE – Gov. Dave Heineman says he’s concerned Nebraska could again split its electoral vote in November’s general election.
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Heineman said the state’s unique model, shared only by Maine, should be scrapped for a winner-take-all system. He called the current system “totally inappropriate.”
Nebraska’s split model helped send one extra vote to now-President Barack Obama from the Second Congressional District in 2008. Nebraska lawmakers have attempted to switch the state to a winner-take-all system, but those attempts have failed in the Legislature.
“I think we put Nebraska at a disadvantage,” Heineman said. “We have a national presidential election and 48 states are playing by one set of rules and Nebraska and Maine are playing by another set. I think that’s wrong.”
Heineman called the effort to retain the current system “partisan and political.” He was responding to questions about presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s early visit to Omaha this month in a sign the Omaha-based district could be a battleground in November.
Heineman also weighed in on the validity of Omaha and Lincoln’s newly-passed ordinances that protect gay and lesbian residents from discrimination. The Governor said those ordinances, which outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, should be put to a public vote.
The city councils of Omaha and Lincoln both passed ordinances in recent weeks. They were subject to hours of impassioned public testimony from both sides of the debate. But Attorney General Jon Bruning has said that public input didn’t go far enough. Bruning issued a non-binding opinion earlier this month saying the cities’ ordinances went further than what is allowed in state statute, and that they should be put to a vote. Tuesday, Heineman agreed. The Governor related it to this year’s legislative session, where lawmakers pushed a sales tax forward that would be decided by public vote.
“When they want to raise taxes, (it’s) trust the people,” Heineman said. “Okay, if we can trust the people to vote on a tax increase, surely, we can trust the people to vote on one of the most fundamental values we have in this state.”
Gov. Heineman was also asked whether his opinion on gay marriage has “evolved” as President Barack Obama said his views had, before he came out in support. He responded his views have evolved to “exactly where they have been a long time.”