Sen. Bob Krist Joins Lawsuit to Overturn Law Restricting Independents

“It’s a rigged system that is preventing good candidates from accessing the ballot.”

LINCOLN, NE – Sen. Bob Krist, announced today he is challenging the constitutionality of a law that makes Nebraska the most difficult state in the nation for independent candidates to get elected.

The Nebraska law approved last year with no debate was added to an omnibus elections proposal just days before the Legislature was scheduled to end. It requires nonpartisan candidates in statewide elections to collect signatures from at least 10 percent of the state's registered voters; roughly 119,000 voters.

Previously, candidates in Nebraska needed just 4,000 signatures. By comparison, 37 other states require 10,000 signatures or fewer to place independent candidates on the ballot. The bill was introduced by Republican State Senator John Murante and signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts.

“This is pure and simple an attempt by Pete Ricketts to silence independent voices that disagree with his heavy-handed tactics,” Krist said. “It’s a rigged system that is preventing good candidates from accessing the ballot.”

Nebraska attorney Dave Domina, who is representing Krist and four other plaintiffs in the case, said he will file the lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

“The statues place undue burdens and restrictions on ballot access for Independent candidates for public office who are not registered members of a political party,” Domina said. “No other state has a signature threshold as high as Nebraska's,” Domina said.

“We have a long history of electing strong, independent candidates,” Krist said. “But in recent years we have become more and more like Washington, D.C. where heavy-handed Party Bosses with deep pockets and no respect for the common person run the show. That’s not the Nebraska way. That’s not what people expect from their elected officials. It’s time to stand up to the Governor and allow all voices, Independent, Democratic and Republican to have equal access to the ballot,” Krist said.

“Nebraskans are telling me they are frustrated with Gov. Ricketts’ hyper partisanship and inability to solve the property tax crisis. Nebraskans want an independent approach to government, a leader who preserves our unique nonpartisan traditions,” Krist said.


February 1, 2018

Contact: Dan Parsons, (402) 580-2321