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The legality of county officials appointing election commissioners is expected to be reviewed by the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Following up on his official opinion that current appointment, rather than election, of election commissioners in Lancaster, Douglas and five other counties is "constitutionally suspect," Attorney General Doug Peterson has taken the issue to the Nebraska Supreme Court.

The court, in turn, said Thursday that the application would be accepted subject to an agreed stipulation of facts in the case by Peterson and Secretary of State Bob Evnen, the state's chief elections officer.

The attorney general's opinion on the matter had been sought by Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln and it was released last month.

John Cartier, Civic Nebraska's director of voting rights, issued a statement applauding "this decisive action by the attorney general" in promptly taking the issue to court.

"This is a serious constitutional issue that is meant to be resolved, once and for all, by the court," Cartier said.

"Civic Nebraska will keep all legal options on the table as we continue to seek a definitive constitutional resolution," he said.

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Appointment of election commissioners may be unconstitutional, Nebraska AG says

Election commissioners in Lancaster, Douglas and Sarpy counties are appointed by the governor.

County boards make those appointments in Buffalo, Cass, Hall and Platte counties.

"It is our view that the statutes providing for the appointment of election commissioners and chief deputy election commissioners would, if challenged, be held unconstitutional by the Nebraska Supreme Court," the attorney general's opinion stated.

Responding at the time, Evnen said he believes "there were sound policy reasons supporting the enactment of the appointment statutes."

Hansen has said he will introduce legislation next year to make the change designating election commissioner as an elective office in all counties.

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News Editor

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram, Schuyler Sun and The Banner-Press newspapers. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015.

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