Nonpartisan voters in Nebraska will again have the option of voting in this year’s Democratic primary.
The Nebraska Democratic Party State Central Committee voted to continue to the practice, which it began in 2014 as a measure designed to increase voter turnout.
Current Nebraska law allows independents to vote in party primaries for U.S. House and Senate races but does not allow them the same freedom when it comes to state and local offices elected on a partisan basis.
Political parties, however, can open up their own primaries for all partisan state races.
Republicans have not opened their Nebraska primary to nonpartisan voters.
In response to the Democratic Party’s move, the Nebraska Republican Party said in a press release that it’s launching an initiative to urge independents to register as Republicans and vote in the Republican primary.
“Our initiative seeks to strengthen awareness of our party as a destination for all Nebraskans,” said Kenny Zoeller, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party.
Democrats decided to continue their practice after a discussion in which some delegates expressed concerns that Republicans could interfere with their primaries. Chairwoman Jane Kleeb said there isn’t evidence that has happened.
The group ultimately decided that it wanted to reach out to independent voters to try to encourage them to vote for Democrats.
“We need to win these people over,” said delegate Nate Gadzinski. “I see absolutely no downside here. Politics is a game of addition. Just add more people.”
Kleeb submitted a memo to the Nebraska Secretary of State on Wednesday.
All nonpartisan voters vote on nonpartisan seats, such as the Legislature, as well as any ballot initiatives such as local bond issues.
To receive a partisan ballot in the May 15 primary, independent voters must ask for a Democratic, Republican or Libertarian ballot when they check in at the polls.
Nonpartisans who receive a Republican ballot would also vote on the GOP House and Senate candidates. Nonpartisans who get a Democratic ballot would vote on those races on the Democratic side plus all the state partisan offices, including governor, other statewide races, Public Service Commission and local elections.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!