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For immediate release: Ben Kiser
Thursday, April 11, 2002 402-471-8675

Secretary Gale Applauds the Passage of LB 935 and LB 1054

Lincoln - Secretary of State John Gale applauded the passage of LB 935 and LB 1054 by the Nebraska Legislature today. This legislation contains recommendations from the Election Reform Task Force to improve the election process in Nebraska.

"I appreciate the Legislature’s support of the recommendations from the Election Reform Task Force," said Secretary Gale, chairman of the Task Force. ’The provisions of these bills will make our Nebraska election process stronger."

State Senator DiAnna Schimek, introduced LB 1054 with the statutory changes needed to implement the recommendations of the Election Reform Task Force. In the legislation, felons are required to be advised of the process to restore their civil rights through the Pardons Board; poll worker recruitment and retention is encouraged by allowing split shifts and providing flexibility for local election officials to set their wages; provisional balloting is permitted on Election Day; and current recount procedures are amended.

LB 935, introduced by State Senator Vickie McDonald in the previous legislative session, changes the time absentee ballots must be received by the county clerk or election commissioner from 10 a.m. on the Thursday following the election to the close of polls on Election Day. The Election Reform Task Force supported this changed.

Legislative Bill 67, introduced in January 2001, by Senator Doug Kristensen created a six-member task force to review the election process in Nebraska. According to this bill, the Election Reform Task Force shall submit two reports to the Governor and Legislature. The first report was due on or before March 1, 2002 and the final report is due on December 31, 2002.

The Election Reform Task Force members are Chairman John Gale, Secretary of State; Vice Chair DiAnna Schimek, State Senator; Lauren Hill, Director of the Governor’s Policy Research Office; Dave Shively, Lancaster County Election Commissioner; Vera Dulaney, Scotts Bluff County Clerk; and Diane Mohr, Dixon County Clerk.

Secretary Gale said, "With our election fine tuning in Nebraska and with the prospect of federal election legislation, setting reasonable standards for reform and helping to fund improvements state-by-state, elections in America will be fairer, more inclusive and user friendly."

*A copy of the first reportfrom the Election Reform Task Force is posted on the Secretary of State’s website: http://www.sos.state.ne.us/.

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