Prof. Justin Levitt's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

Nebraska

State Summary

Nebraska’s congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

The state legislature is unicameral (one house, not divided into state House and state Senate), and elected in nonpartisan elections, though state parties generally endorse particular candidates.

In the 2010 cycle, Nebraska’s legislature enacted congressional districts (LB 704) and state legislative districts (LB 703) districts on May 26, 2011, signed by the Governor on the same day.

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Key Info for 2000 Cycle

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2010 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2020 Cycle

Primary governing law

Data

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Institution

Nebraska’s congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

The state legislature is unicameral (one house, not divided into state House and state Senate), and elected in nonpartisan elections, though state parties generally endorse particular candidates.

The special committee tasked with drafting redistricting plans comprises three legislators from each congressional district, no more than five of whom are affiliated with the same political party.  [Rules of the Neb. Unicameral Legis., Rule 3, § 6]

Timing

Nebraska’s state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional or state legislative lines. The regular legislative session is scheduled to begin on Jan. 6, 2021, and end June 10, 2021.  Incumbent candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by Feb. 15, 2022, while non-incumbents are required to file by Mar. 1, 2022. [Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-606(1)]

Nebraska law appears to permit redrawing state legislative or congressional district lines mid-decade, at any point before the next Census. [2002 Op. Neb. Att’y Gen. No. 02003Exon v. Tiemann, 279 F.Supp. 603 (D. Neb. 1967)]

Public input

Current legislative rules call for the legislative redistricting committee to make substantive guidelines, redistricting data, and draft plans available to the public, and to conduct at least one public hearing in each congressional district before plans are finalized.  These rules may be changed by the legislature at any time. [Rules of the Neb. Unicameral Legis., Rule 3, § 6(g)-(j)]

Criteria

Like all states, Nebraska must comply with constitutional equal population requirements; the state constitution also asks that legislative districts be “as nearly equal in population as may be.” [Neb. Const. art. III, § 5]

Nebraska must also, like all states, abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

The Nebraska constitution further requires that state legislative districts be contiguous and compact, and that they keep to county boundaries “whenever practicable.” [Neb. Const. art. III, § 5]

The legislature has, in the past, promulgated further substantive guidelines, which the legislature may alter as it wishes.

2010 cycle

Nebraska’s legislature enacted congressional districts (LB 704) and state legislative districts (LB 703) districts on May 26, 2011, signed by the Governor on the same day.

It appears that these plans were not challenged in court.

2000 cycle

Nebraska’s legislature enacted congressional districts (LB 851) on May 30, 2001, and state legislative districts (LB 852) districts on May 31, 2001.

It appears that these plans were not challenged in court.