Gov “concerned” Nebraska could again split electoral vote
May 22nd, 2012
Omaha, NE â€“ Gov. Dave Heineman says heâ€™s concerned Nebraska could again split its electoral vote in Novemberâ€™s general election.
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Heineman said the stateâ€™s unique model, shared only by Maine, should be scrapped for a winner-take-all system. He called the current system â€œtotally inappropriate.â€
Nebraskaâ€™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.
â€œI think we put Nebraska at a disadvantage,â€ Heineman said. â€œWe 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 thatâ€™s wrong.â€
Heineman called the effort to retain the current system â€œpartisan and political.â€ He was responding to questions about presidential candidate Mitt Romneyâ€™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 Lincolnâ€™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 didnâ€™t go far enough. Bruning issued a non-binding opinion earlier this month saying the citiesâ€™ 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 yearâ€™s legislative session, where lawmakers pushed a sales tax forward that would be decided by public vote.
â€œWhen they want to raise taxes, (itâ€™s) trust the people,â€ Heineman said. â€œOkay, 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.â€
Gov. Heineman was also asked whether his opinion on gay marriage has â€œevolvedâ€ as President Barack Obama said his views had, before he came out in support. He responded his views have evolved to â€œexactly where they have been a long time.â€