NFFV Action Request

Upcoming Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs

Committee Hearing

Thursday, March 2, 2023

1:30 PM, Room 1507


LB776 Provide for Nomination and Election of

Candidates on the Nonpartisan Ballot

What is LB776 all about?

LB776 would turn all our state elections into nonpartisan by removing party affiliation from the ballot. Ballots would no longer list a political party next to candidates names. It would be similar to the structure of Nebraska State Legislature ballots. While this may sound like a minor change, in reality, it completely restructures our election process and breaks long standing norms in the United States. The U.S. has had a party system from the very being. At one point in history the parties were known as the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.

Why does party affiliation matter? Shouldn't we be voting for the best candidate?

As mentioned previously, our country has had political parties since its inception. Political parties are defined by their ideology that may or may not change over time. Citizens align with parties that match their own ideology. This creates a sense of fraternity and helps support common interests, taking a group approach.

Citizens should vote for the best candidate in their opinion, however, they may not personally know or have time to understand how a candidate's beliefs aligns with their own. Thus nonpartisan elections are generally local level elections with small numbers of people. Partisan elections are larger elections evolving large groups of people. Partisan elections ensure citizens' votes align with their ideology even if they haven't fully vetted the candidate. Partisanship also helps hold candidates who are elected to the ideology they campaigned on.

Here are some differences between partisan and non-partisan elections as defined by The National League of Cities:

Proponents of nonpartisan ballots suggest that:

  • Political parties are irrelevant to providing services.
  • Cooperation between elected officials belonging to different parties is more likely.

Proponents for partisan elections argue that:

  • The absence of party labels confuses voters; a voter who must choose from among a group of candidates whom she knows nothing about will have no meaningful basis in casting a ballot.
  • In the absence of a party ballot, voters will turn to whatever cue is available, which often turns out to be the ethnicity of a candidate’s name.
  • Non-partisanship tends to produce elected officials more representative of the upper socioeconomic strata than of the general populace and aggravates the class bias in voting turnout, because in true non-partisan systems there are no organizations of local party workers to bring lower-class citizens to the polls on election day.

Doesn't Nebraska have a history with non-partisan elections?

Nebraska is the only state to have a nonpartisan Unicameral. This means its members are elected on a nonpartisan ticket, with no party affiliation listed on the ballot. Is our unicameral legislature really nonpartisan? Let's take a closer look by asking a few questions:

  • Do candidates except political party financial contributions for their elections?
  • Are candidates endorsed by a political party?
  • Do news organization associate candidates with a political party?
  • During redistricting, does the political party of the Redistricting Committee members matter? Hint: the answer can be found here; Rule 3, Section 6. Page 18.

If you answered yes to one or more of those questions can you really say Nebraska has a nonpartisan Unicameral? Check out this video from the Rules Committee earlier this year. At least one Senator understands nonpartisanship in Nebraska's Unicameral is a myth.


Nonpartisan elections lack transparency and try to tell a story that is not real - partisanship exists. Not listing partisanship on the ballot doesn't mean it's not there. It only hides it.

We wish our country wasn't as divided as it is today, however, shrinking that divide is something we all can work on. It starts with listening to understand. James 1:19-20 "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."

How to be heard? 

Take action, your voice is powerful make it heard. LB776 committee hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 2, 2023.

How to be heard? Here are three ways:

  • Most EffectiveTestify in person. Going to the Committee hearing and sharing YOUR story with committee member Senators is very impactful. For first time in person testifier here are some helpful hints
  • Very EffectiveSubmit written testimony. If you can't be there in person then submit written testimony. Not sure how to do that, click hereNote; written testimony needs to be submitted by noon the business day before the committee hearing.
  • EffectiveEmail your position letter to the Committee Senators and CC your own Senator. For a listing of the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee Senators click hereNote; emails need to be sent by noon the business day before the committee hearing. It's not likely these emails will be included in official hearing minutes though there is a better chance Committee Senators will see your comments. You can request they be added to meeting minutes in your email to Committee Senators.

Not sure what to say?

Listed below are thought starters. Build your story around one or two of them. Quantity is not as important as a short heart felt personal story.


Here are three strong arguments to oppose this legislation:

  • Changing to nonpartisan elections goes against the fundamentals this nation started with. Starting in its first days there has always been at least two political parties that citizens associated themselves with.

  • Nonpartisan elections can work in smaller localized elections, however, elections involving large numbers of citizens it does not work. Citizens do not know the candidates well enough to make informed decisions. Without partisanship, voting now becomes a matter of public image and campaign dollars spent, not content, platform, or position.

  • Even in Nebraska's "nonpartisan" Unicameral, political parties play major roles in elections and politics. Believing political parties would somehow not play a role in future elections would be naïve. If political parties are truly irrelevant to providing service then it would seem it's irrelevant to remove the distinctions.
Board of Directors Team