Nebraska electoral college reform stalls

The Republican push to reform Nebraska's system of awarding presidential electoral votes by congressional district has stalled and is unlikely to pass this year.



The legislative purgatory for the bill is good news for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Neb.), who is facing a tough reelection campaign. The state's liberal-leaning 2nd congressional district went for President Obama in 2008 after his campaign invested heavily in the Omaha region, driving up Democratic turnout. That investment was unlikely to be made again had the state changed to a winner-take-all system.  



State Sen. Beau McCoy's (R) proposal to reform the current system came to a stalemate in the Government Committee, according to a top legislative aide. There was a general consensus among the eight lawmakers that the winner-take-all bill wouldn't pass so a vote should not be taken.

It's still possible to the bill could be pulled directly onto the floor of the unicameral body, but that type of maneuver is generally frowned upon in the technically non-partisan Legislature.



According to local reports, it was a Republican state senator, Paul Schumacher, who was the swing vote against advancing the legislation. His decision would indicate it's unlikely the bill would pass in 2012, when it would be even more controversial with Election Day closer.



Nelson had said he would have liked to veto the bill, just as he did twice while serving as governor.

"I think other states ought to consider doing it as well," he recently told The Ballot Box. "Whether they do or not is their choice."

Maine is the only other state to divide its Electoral College votes by congressional district.