Arch: "Wait and see" on winner-take-all special session

April 10, 2024, noon ·

Speaker John Arch (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)
Speaker John Arch (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

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The speaker of the Nebraska Legislature says a special session to switch to a winner-take-all electoral college system is possible, but will depend on how much support there is.

“Special sessions are always possible and we'll just have to wait and see,” said Speaker John Arch.

Arch’s comments Wednesday follow Gov. Jim Pillen’s tweeting Tuesday night that although it’s too late to change to winner-take this legislative session, he looks forward to “moving it forward in a special session, when there is sufficient support in the Legislature to pass it.”

Conservative activist Charlie Kirk and former President Donald Trump have urged Nebraska to change its system of awarding some Electoral College votes by congressional district, which let Democrat Joe Biden to win the Omaha-area vote against the Republican Trump in 2020.

Arch is noncommittal about whether a special session needed to change that system will happen yet this year. Speaking of the process, he noted “There are two paths to a special session: one called by the senators, one called by the governor.

Senators can make the governor call a special session if two-thirds of them, 33, agree. That hasn’t happened in the history of the Unicameral. Or, the governor can call a special session on his own. And if he does, the number of votes needed that would be need to overcome a filibuster against winner-take all would also be 33. Arch says that leaves the prospect of a special session up in the air.

“The governor will decide if it’s important enough, and the body will decide if it’s important enough,” Arch said.