Disputed points of election law; Secretary of State; duties.
The Secretary of State shall decide disputed points of election law. The decisions shall have the force of law until changed by the courts.
Source:Laws 1994, LB 76, § 21.
The Secretary of State cannot determine the substantive merits of the Legislature’s proposed constitutional amendment. But in a legal sufficiency challenge, he has a duty to reject a proposed amendment as legally defective for failing to satisfy form and procedural requirements. There is no requirement that the proposed amendment be “patently unconstitutional on its face” before the Secretary must act. State ex rel. Loontjer v. Gale, 288 Neb. 973, 853 N.W.2d 494 (2014).
The Secretary of State’s statutory duties to provide the ballot form for the Legislature’s proposed constitutional amendments and to certify its contents, coupled with his duties to supervise elections and decide disputed points of election laws, clearly require him to consider whether a proposed amendment complies with the separate-vote provision. Power vested in a governmental body or officer carries with it the implied power to do what is necessary to accomplish an express statutory duty, absent any other law that restrains the implied power. State ex rel. Loontjer v. Gale, 288 Neb. 973, 853 N.W.2d 494 (2014).