Sen. Nelson opposes Nebraska electoral college reform

Sen. Ben Nelson (D) said he would like to "veto" the Republican-backed attempt to reform Nebraska's system of awarding presidential electoral votes by congressional district. 

Lawmakers are debating a bill state Sen. Beau McCoy (R) introduced to revert the state's current system to a winner-take-all allocation. Republicans hold 34 of the state's 49 seats in the nonpartisan, unicameral Legislature.

Nelson vetoed similar legislation when he was governor. "If I was governor, I'd veto it again," he told The Ballot Box. "I hope it doesn't pass."

Nelson is facing a tough reelection campaign and some observers believe that his prospects could take a hit if the reform goes through.

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 is unlikely to be made if the state changes its current system.  

Nelson said his position had nothing to do with electoral politics.

"I certainly didn't focus on that when I vetoed it twice before," he said. "I wasn't in a campaign. I just happen to think [the current system] is the right way to do it.

"I think other states ought to consider doing it as well," he added. "Whether they do or not is their choice."

Maine is the only other state to divide its electoral college votes by congressional district. 

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