LINCOLN, Neb. – Today, Nebraskans for Independent Redistricting, a nonpartisan coalition of Nebraska nonprofit organizations, introduced a ballot initiative that would prohibit the manipulation of voting districts - a process known as gerrymandering. If qualified and passed by voters in November, the proposal would create an independent citizens commission to oversee the constitutionally mandated redrawing of Nebraska’s congressional and state legislative districts.
The ACLU of Nebraska is proud to be among partnering organizations supporting the measure.
“Nebraskans have a constitutional right to cast a meaningful vote and all civil liberties rest on that fundamental right," Conrad said. "This ballot initiative gives power back to the people, empowering voters to choose their representatives, instead of politicians picking their voters.”
Campaign co-chairs include longtime Omaha volunteer and community leader Carol Russell and former State Senators DiAnna Schimek and Marian Price.
“Our political system isn't as fair as it should be because of gerrymandering," Schimek said. "Nebraskans want a system that everyone trusts, which gives the people ownership. This is a common sense solution that prevents elected officials from being able to redraw legislative districts for partisan or political interests. It adds transparency and makes our government more accountable to the people of Nebraska."
Other supporting organizations include Civic Nebraska, Common Cause Nebraska, the Holland Children’s Movement and Nebraska Appleseed.
This morning, representatives of Nebraskans for Independent Redistricting delivered language to the Secretary of State’s office, initiating the process to begin a petition drive. Signature gathering is expected to begin later this month.
The proposed measure includes the following provisions:
Establishes a 9-member independent citizens commission to determine district lines for the US House of Representatives and the Nebraska Legislature.
Requires commission meetings will be held exclusively in public and requires open sharing of maps and data being considered by the commission.
Prohibits lobbyists, elected officials, party leaders, current and former political candidates from serving on the commission, as well as their immediate family.
Without this amendment, Nebraska will spend another 10 years with voting district lines that can be manipulated by sitting legislators for their own benefit.
A growing number of states from across the political spectrum are adopting redistricting commissions to strengthen community input, increase transparency and prevent partisan gerrymandering. It’s time for Nebraska to do the same.