The rapid rise and evolution of the internet has fundamentally altered many aspects of our modern life. The way we interact with each other, the way business is conducted, and even the way we get our news and information has been changed by the internet and social media’s ability to instantly connect us to almost anyone in the world. Ideas can be shared, opinions voiced, and issues discussed with both friends and strangers alike through the stroke of a key. We now have the ability to connect with others and find common cause over issues and ideals that once would be barred by geographic limitations on communication. Computers are being made smaller, faster, and even being integrated into wearable objects like watches and glasses so we never have to be too far from the internet. The ability to reach millions of people instantly is being utilized in new and different ways by groups trying to disseminate their ideas and promote their agendas. How far should the amazing new ability for every individual to voice his or her opinion on the internet stretch into the realm of election law?
By: Eric Sutton
Background and the Referendum Process
On Wednesday, May 27th, 2015, the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature eliminated capital punishment through LB 268. The bill was approved over a veto by Governor Pete Ricketts, by a no-votes-to-spare 30-19 margin, and marked the end of State Senator Ernie Chambers’ 39-year effort to end the death penalty in Nebraska. The repeal made Nebraska the first conservative state to eliminate capital punishment in more than 40 years. However, immediately after the repeal, State Senator Beau McCoy, a conservative, expressed his frustration over the vote and announced his intent to pursue a ballot initiative to reinstate the death penalty. Less than one week after the repeal and Sen. McCoy’s statements, a group named Nebraskan’s for the Death Penalty (“NFDP”) filed the appropriate paperwork with the Secretary of State to reinstate the death penalty by referendum.