The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday issued its decision on petition signature requirements for Nebraska
LINCOLN, Nebraska – On Wednesday, the 8th United States Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision regarding the petition signature requirements for the state of Nebraska.
In order to comply with the legislation and get an issue on the ballot in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties, petitioners need to acquire valid signatures from at least 5% of the state’s registered voters in each of those counties.
A judge in a district court in the United States agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska in June that the provision gives rural voters more authority than voters in metropolitan counties. The decision was overturned after being appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard the case.
Legal action was initiated by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana and Crista Eggers, whose son experiences seizures. They asserted that the requirement was in violation of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution since the existing system gives voters vastly varying influence depending on the population of the county in which they live.
In the judgement that was released on Wednesday, the judge ruled that the equal protection argument presented in the lawsuit does not apply to the processes involving state ballot initiatives. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that they disagree with the ruling made by the 8th Circuit and that they will not give up on the lawsuit.
Because of the way the regulations were written, petition organizers were required to turn in 86,776 signatures for each of the two issues in order to get them on the ballot for November. They were able to fulfill the July deadline and submit more than 90,000 signatures, but the Nebraska Secretary of State ruled that several of the signatures were ineligible, therefore neither initiative was able to make it onto the ballot.