Gov. Heineman Signs Early Voting Bill into Legislation


Governor Dave Heineman has signed a new bill into legislation that will reduce the number of in-person early voting days from 35 day to 30 days.

The bill was introduced as a way to help assure that Nebraska can comply with the Help America Vote Act. The Secretary of State's office recently conducted a hearing that prompted the recommendation to reduce the time-frame for early voting days.

The hearing came after a visually impaired woman from Lincoln filed a complaint because she was unable to vote on an AutoMARK at the start of the in-person early voting period on October 1.

The hearing officer who heard the complaint recommended reducing in-person voting from 35 days to 25 days, but state legislators amended the number of days to 30 during debate.

According to the Secretary of State office, the average for most states for early in-person voting is 22 days.

Secretary of State John Gales says the 25 day time-frame would have given the office greater assurance of having the ballots properly certified and the AutoMARKs working properly for visually impaired and disabled voters.

"We will work hard to accomplish what needs to be done before any of our statewide elections to prevent future HAVA complaints," said Gale.

The bill does not impact the start date for absentee ballot requests.