Nebraska's GOP governor wants winner-take-all months before the presidential election.

Omaha— Nebraska’s Republican governor wants state lawmakers to adopt a “winner-take-all” Electoral College voting system with only months until a fiercely disputed presidential election.  

“It would bring Nebraska into line with 48 of our fellow states, better reflect the founders’ intent, and ensure our state speaks with one unified voice in presidential elections,” Gov. Jim Pillen wrote Tuesday. I want fellow Republicans in the Legislature to send this bill to my desk so I may sign it.”  

Nebraska and Maine are the only states to split electoral votes by congressional district in previous presidential elections. Both states' lawmakers have tried to switch to a winner-take-all system but have failed. Since Barack Obama became the first presidential candidate to score one of Nebraska's five electoral votes in 2008, Republicans have been unable to force a winner-take-all system. President Joe Biden won Nebraska's 2nd District electoral vote again in 2020.  

Maine gave former President Donald Trump one of its four electoral votes in 2016. Maine Republicans reject a multistate compact that would take away its split system and give all its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, even if it clashes with Maine's popular vote.  

A representative for Democratic Maine Gov. Janet Mills said she has not decided whether to approve the bill, which passed the Senate Wednesday. Signing it would delay it until other states approve the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.  

Nebraska Republicans have also struggled to change the system since the state's one-chamber Legislature required 33 votes to pass contentious bills. Omaha Sen. Mike McDonnell, a Democrat, switched to Republican on Wednesday. Republicans dominate 32 seats in the nonpartisan Legislature. McDonnell cited his Nebraska Democratic Party reprimand for supporting abortion restrictions last year.  

The party denounced Pillen's attempt to kill the split electoral vote system and urged locals to sign a petition and support it. “Nebraskans want to keep our fair electoral system in place, which is why some Republicans over the last thirty years have failed to undo our split electoral votes,” party chair Jane Kleeb wrote. We are proud of our unique electoral vote system and realize the economic benefits of national attention on our state.”  

With only six days left in the session, Nebraska lawmakers may not have time to get the bill out of committee, let alone debate it three times. Pillen has called for a winner-take-all modification. Some Nebraska politicians agreed.

Sen. Megan Hunt tweeted on X late Tuesday, “Reporting live from the trenches — don’t worry, we aren’t getting rid of our unique electoral system in Nebraska.” There's no time legislatively. Nothing to worry about this year.”  

Speaker of the Legislature Sen. John Arch stated Wednesday afternoon that Nebraska's legislative process prevents him from scheduling a bill in committee. Republican state Sen. Julie Slama attempted to attach the bill as an amendment to another bill Wednesday, which Democratic state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh pledged to filibuster.  

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