Nebraska Revised Statute 32-1409

Chapter 32 Section 1409

32-1409.

Initiative and referendum petitions; signature verification; procedure; certification; Secretary of State; duties.

(1) Upon the receipt of the petitions, the Secretary of State, with the aid and assistance of the election commissioner or county clerk, shall determine the validity and sufficiency of signatures on the pages of the filed petition. The Secretary of State shall deliver the various pages of the filed petition to the election commissioner or county clerk by hand carrier, by use of law enforcement officials, or by certified mail, return receipt requested. Upon receipt of the pages of the petition, the election commissioner or county clerk shall issue to the Secretary of State a written receipt that the pages of the petition are in the custody of the election commissioner or county clerk. The election commissioner or county clerk shall determine if each signer was a registered voter on or before the date on which the petition was required to be filed with the Secretary of State. The election commissioner or county clerk shall compare the signer's signature, printed name, date of birth, street name and number or voting precinct, and city, village, or post office address with the voter registration records to determine whether the signer was a registered voter. The determination of the election commissioner or county clerk may be rebutted by any credible evidence which the election commissioner or county clerk finds sufficient. The express purpose of the comparison of names and addresses with the voter registration records, in addition to helping to determine the validity of such petition, the sufficiency of such petition, and the qualifications of the signer, shall be to prevent fraud, deception, and misrepresentation in the petition process.

(2) Upon completion of the determination of registration, the election commissioner or county clerk shall prepare in writing a certification under seal setting forth the name and address of each signer found not to be a registered voter and the petition page number and line number where the name is found, and if the reason for the invalidity of the signature or address is other than the nonregistration of the signer, the election commissioner or county clerk shall set forth the reason for the invalidity of the signature. If the election commissioner or county clerk determines that a signer has affixed his or her signature more than once to any page or pages of the petition and that only one person is registered by that name, the election commissioner or county clerk shall prepare in writing a certification under seal setting forth the name of the duplicate signature and shall count only the earliest dated signature. The election commissioner or county clerk shall deliver all pages of the petition and the certifications to the Secretary of State within forty days after the receipt of such pages from the Secretary of State. The delivery shall be by hand carrier, by use of law enforcement officials, or by certified mail, return receipt requested. The Secretary of State may grant to the election commissioner or county clerk an additional ten days to return all pages of the petition in extraordinary circumstances.

(3) Upon receipt of the pages of the petition, the Secretary of State shall issue a written receipt indicating the number of pages of the petition that are in his or her custody. When all the petitions and certifications have been received by the Secretary of State, he or she shall strike from the pages of the petition all but the earliest dated signature of any duplicate signatures and such stricken signatures shall not be added to the total number of valid signatures. Not more than twenty signatures on one sheet shall be counted. All signatures secured in a manner contrary to sections 32-1401 to 32-1416 shall not be counted. Clerical and technical errors in a petition shall be disregarded if the forms prescribed in sections 32-1401 to 32-1403 are substantially followed. The Secretary of State shall total the valid signatures and determine if constitutional and statutory requirements have been met. The Secretary of State shall immediately serve a copy of such determination by certified or registered mail upon the person filing the initiative or referendum petition. If the petition is found to be valid and sufficient, the Secretary of State shall proceed to place the measure on the general election ballot.

(4) The Secretary of State may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for the issuance of all necessary forms and procedural instructions to carry out this section.

Source

Annotations

  • Pursuant to subsection (3) of this section, the Secretary of State is required to determine if constitutional requirements have been met before placing a measure on the ballot. State ex rel. Lemon v. Gale, 272 Neb. 295, 721 N.W.2d 347 (2006).

  • Subsection (1) of this section is unconstitutional because it requires an "exact match" of information and does not on its face provide for the Secretary of State to allow county officials to make exceptions to the matching requirement. State ex rel. Stenberg v. Moore, 258 Neb. 199, 602 N.W.2d 465 (1999).

  • Pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, upon receipt of initiative petitions, the Secretary of State delivers them to the election commissioners and clerks of each county for verification of each signature. When performing the verification procedures, county officials are required to compare the signer's printed name; street address or voting precinct; city, village, or post office address; and signature with voter registration records to determine if the signer is a registered voter. The signature is presumed to be valid only if all of these items match. Pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, county officials must determine whether each signer was registered as a voter on or before the date on which the petition was required to be filed with the Secretary of State. Pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, the findings of county officials as to the validity or invalidity of petition signatures may be rebutted by any credible evidence that the Secretary of State finds sufficient. Pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, a party cannot challenge the constitutionality of this section in the same action in which it attempts to rely upon the same section. Pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, a finding by county officials of the invalidity of individual signatures cannot be rebutted by the use of random statistical sampling. Pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, county officials are required to certify their verification of petition signatures to the Secretary of State within 40 days after their receipt of the petitions. Pursuant to subsection (3) of this section, the Secretary of State is required to determine the total number of valid signatures and determine whether the constitutional and statutory requirements have been met. The Secretary of State is required to notify the person filing the initiative petition of the result of the verification process. State ex rel. Bellino v. Moore, 254 Neb. 385, 576 N.W.2d 793 (1998).

  • Pursuant to subsection (3) of this section (formerly subsection (5) of section 32-705), the Secretary of State will approve a proposed petition if the statutorily prescribed forms are substantially complied with. Duggan v. Beermann, 249 Neb. 411, 544 N.W.2d 68 (1996).