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      New Law Makes Changes for Potential Write-In and Petition Presidential Candidates

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      Governor Dave Heineman has recently given final approval to a bill that would change the filing deadline for those petitioning to be on the presidential ballot.

      The deadline to petition for inclusion on the ballot has been moved from September 1 to August 1.

      Secretary of State John Gale says, "Changing this date makes ballot certificationin Nebraska less of a crisis and easier to achieve in a timely manner." As part of a trade-off to balance out the tighter deadline, the law eliminates a previous restriction that anyone who voted in the primary election for president would not be allowed to sign a petition for a potential presidential candidate.

      According to the Secretary of State Office, 28 notarized affidavits were received by the office for write in presidential candidates in the 2012 general election. They say only two of thosecandidates tried to secure enough petitions to be included on the ballot.

      And even with the September 1 deadline, the number of signatures need fell short in both cases. "Allowing more citizens to sign the petition is a reasonablecompromise with the tighter deadline," Gale said.

      Additionally, the law requires potential write-in candidates to give more information, such as identifying a vice presidential candidate and the names of their five electors.

      "Our goalhere was to remove one of the roadblocks to timely certification of ourstatewide election ballots, but have a neutral impact on the ability ofpetitioners to reach their signature goal by the new deadline and require thatwrite in candidates provide data similar to party nominated candidates. I thinkwe accomplished our intent with LB349," Sec. Gale added.

      The lawgoes into effect 90 days from the date it was signed.

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