Proposal Would Strip Governor Of Power To Appoint Election Commissioners

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

A decision to close dozens of polling places in Douglas County may lead to changes in the way election commissioners are chosen in Nebraska's largest counties.

Omaha Sen. Heath Mello wants to take away Gov. Dave Heineman's ability to appoint election commissioners in Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy counties. County clerks fill that role in all other parts of the state.

The controversy involves Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps, a Heineman appointee, who announced a reduction in polling places before the May primary. Voting-rights groups say the closings were meant to confuse voters and suppress turnout in heavily Democratic, low-income sections of Omaha.

Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, a former Douglas County election commissioner, says the allegations against Phipps have no merit.

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