A Donald Trump-backed bid for Nebraska to adopt a winner-take-all system for the presidential elections in November stumbled on Wednesday as state lawmakers voted down a procedural motion that could have put the proposal to a vote.

The Republican-controlled state legislature rejected the procedural motion by 36 votes to eight, blocking what one GOP state senator described as “the last chance to pass winner-take-all this session.”

The Context

Trump and Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen had both endorsed LB 764, a piece of legislation introduced by state Senator Loren Lippincott which would automatically give all five of the state’s Electoral College votes in the presidential election to the top performing candidate.

However, the bill has spent over a year stalled in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee leading to fresh procedural moves to break the deadlock.

If the legislation had passed, it would likely have resulted in all of Nebraska’s Electoral College votes going to Trump after the November election. In contrast, Trump only received four votes in 2020, with Biden picking up the fifth as he won in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.

What We Know

The procedural vote was put forward by GOP state Senator Julie Slama, who suggested it could lead to a vote on shifting Nebraska to a winner-takes-all system for presidential elections, as currently exists in 48 states.

Speaking minutes before the vote, Slama said: “Make no mistake about it, that vote on the motion to overrule the chair is your vote on winner-take-all.

“We’re gonna find out where you stand. You cannot hide behind this being just a procedural vote. You will be called out for what it is. The state is watching. The country is watching.”

However, Slama was only able to persuade seven of her GOP colleagues to back the motion, less than it needed to pass and far-less than the 33 votes it would have needed to overcome a likely Democratic filibuster.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to guests at a rally on April 02, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In a blow to Trump efforts to get Nebraska to adopt a winner-take-all system for presidential elections…


Scott Olson/GETTY

Views

Democratic state Senator John Fredrickson reacted to Wednesday’s vote with a message to Trump and Turning Point USA CEO Charlie Kirk, who suggested the prospective Republican presidential candidate could lose “by exactly ONE electoral [college] vote” in November due to Nebraska’s use of the congressional district method. The method allows the state to allocate two electoral votes to the state popular vote winner, and then one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each congressional district.

On X, formerly Twitter, Fredrickson posted: “The Nebraska Legislature answers to the voters of Nebraska, not Charlie Kirk or Donald Trump.

“Tonight’s vote to protect our electoral college system in Nebraska is a win for the power of the people in this state.”

What’s Next

Speaking after Wednesday’s vote, Lippincott said he would continue pushing LB 764, though he admitted: “Most likely, this year, it doesn’t look promising. Next year, we’re gonna give it the varsity try.”

Wednesday also saw Nebraska state Senator Mike McDonnell leave the Democratic Party and join the GOP, attributing the decision to the internal party reaction to his pro-life views.