Article 7. Elections
§1-701 ELECTIONS: GENERALLY. All Municipal issues and offices shall be combined on the statewide primary and general election ballots whenever possible. The issuance of separate ballots shall be avoided in a statewide election if Municipal offices or issues can reasonably be combined with the non-partisan ballot and state law does not require otherwise. When the Municipality holds an election in conjunction with the statewide primary or general election, the election shall be held as provided in the Election Act. Any other election by the Municipality shall be held as provided in the Election Act unless otherwise provided by sections 19-3001 to 19-3052 RS Neb. (Ref 32-404(1), 32-556 RS Neb.)
§1-702 ELECTIONS; ELECTION OF OFFICERS; CERTIFICATION. All Municipal elections involving the election of officers shall be held in accordance with the Election Act and in conjunction with the statewide general election. No later than January 5th of each even-numbered year, the Governing Body shall certify to the Secretary of State, the Election Commissioner, or the County Clerk, the name of the Municipality, the number of officers to be elected, the length of the terms of office, the vacancies to be filled by election and length of remaining term, and the number of votes to be cast by a registered voter for each office. (Ref. 17-202, 32-404(2), 32-556 RS Neb.)
§1-703 ELECTIONS; OFFICERS: TERMS QUALIFICATIONS. (1) Commencing with the primary election in 1976 and every two (2) years thereafter, all elected officers of the Municipality shall be nominated at the statewide primary election and elected at the statewide general election. All elected officers of the Municipality shall serve for terms of four (4) years or until their successors are elected and qualified.
(2) The Mayor shall be a resident and registered voter of the Municipality.
(3) There shall be four elected members of the City Council. The members of the City Council shall be elected from the Municipality at large unless the registered voters of the Municipality vote to elect its Councilmembers by wards. The term of office shall begin on the first regular meeting of the City Council in December following the statewide general election. No person shall be eligible to the office of Council- member who is not at the time of the election an actual resident of the ward for which he or she is elected and a registered voter. (Ref 17-103, 17-104, 32-533, 32-554 RS Neb.)
§1-704 ELECTIONS; PARTISAN BALLOT; WHEN ALLOWED; REQUIREMENTS. All elective City offices shall be nominated and elected on a nonpartisan basis unless the Governing Body provides for a partisan ballot by ordinance. No ordinance providing for nomination and election on a partisan ballot shall permit affiliation with any party not recognized as a political party for purposes of the Election Act. Such ordinance providing for nomination and election on a partisan ballot shall be adopted and effective not less than sixty (60) days prior to the filing deadline. (Ref 32-557 RS Neb.)
§1-705 ELECTIONS; JOINT, GENERAL; NOTICE. The notice of election required to be published by the Election Commissioner or County Clerk no less than forty (40) days prior to an election shall serve as the notice requirement for all Municipal elections which are held in conjunction with the statewide primary or general election. (Ref 32-802 RS Neb.)
§1-706 ELECTIONS; SPECIAL, JOINT. (1) Any issue to be submitted to the registered voters at a special election by the Municipality shall be certified by the Municipal Clerk to the Election Commissioner or County Clerk at least fifty (50) days prior to the election. A special election may be held by mail as provided in sections 32-952 through 32-959 RS Neb. No special election to be conducted by the Election Commissioner or County Clerk shall be held within thirty (30) days prior or sixty (60) days after the statewide primary election, and no special election to be conducted by the Election Commissioner or County Clerk shall be held within thirty (30) days prior to or sixty (60) days after the statewide general election.
(2) In lieu of submitting the issue at a special election, the Municipality may submit the issue at a statewide primary or general election or at any scheduled county election, except that no such issue shall be submitted at a statewide election or scheduled county election unless the issue to be submitted has been certified by the Municipal Clerk to the Election Commissioner or County Clerk by March 1 for the primary election and by September 1 for the general election.
(3) After the Election Commissioner or County Clerk has received the certification of the issue to be submitted, he or she shall be responsible for all matters relating to the submission of the issue to the registered voters, except that the Municipal Clerk shall be responsible for the publication or posting of any required special notice of the submission of such issue other than the notice required to be given of the statewide election issues. The Election Commissioner or County Clerk shall prepare the ballots and issue absentee ballots and shall also conduct the submission of the issue, including the receiving and counting of ballots on the issue. The election returns shall be made to the Election Commissioner or County Clerk. The ballots, including absentee ballots, shall be counted and canvassed at the same time and in the same manner as the other ballots. Upon completion of the canvass of the vote by the County Canvassing Board, the Election Commissioner or County Clerk shall certify the election results to the Governing Body. The canvass by the County Canvassing Board shall have the same force and effect as if made by the Governing Body. (Ref 32-559 RS Neb.)
§1-707 ELECTIONS; FILING FEE. (1) Except as provided in subsection (3) or (4) of this section, a filing fee shall be paid to the Municipal Treasurer by or on behalf of each candidate prior to filing for office. The filing fee shall be a sum equal to one percent (1%) of the annual salary such candidate will receive if he or she is elected and qualifies for the office for which he or she files as a candidate. The fee shall be placed in the General Fund of the Municipality. No candidate filing forms shall be filed until the proper receipt showing payment of such filing fee is presented to the filing officer.
(2) All declared write-in candidates shall pay the filing fees that are required for the office at the time that they present the write-in affidavit to the filing officer. Any undeclared write-in candidate who is nominated or elected by write-in votes shall pay the filing fee required for the office within ten (10) days after the canvass of votes by the canvassing board and shall file the receipt with the person issuing the certificate of nomination or the certificate of election prior to the certificate being issued.
(3) No filing fee shall be required on any candidate filing for an office in which a per diem is paid rather than a salary or for which there is a salary of less than five hundred dollars ($500.00) per year.
(4) No filing fee shall be required of any candidate completing an affidavit requesting to file for elective office in forma pauperis. A pauper shall mean a person whose income and other resources for maintenance are found under assistance standards to be insufficient for meeting the cost of his or her requirements and whose reserve of cash or other available resources does not exceed the maximum available resources that an eligible individual may own. Available resources shall include every type of property or interest in property that an individual owns and may convert into cash except:
(a) Real property used as a home;
(b) Household goods of a moderate value used in the home. and
(c) Assets to a maximum value of three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) used by a recipient in a planned effort directed towards self-support.
(5) If any candidate dies prior to an election, the spouse of the candidate may file a claim for refund of the filing fee with the Governing Body prior to the date of the election. Upon approval of the claim by the Governing Body, the filing fee shall be refunded. (Ref 32-608 RS Neb.)
§1-708 ELECTIONS; PETITION CANDIDATES, NUMBER OF SIGNATURES REQUIRED; REQUIREMENTS; PROCEDURE. (1) Candidates for any elected office of the Municipality may be nominated by petition. The number of signatures of registered voters needed to place the name of a candidate upon the nonpartisan ballot for the general election shall be at least ten percent (10%) of the total number of registered voters voting for Governor or President of the United States at the immediately preceding general election in the ward in which the officer is to be elected.
(2) Petitions for nomination for nonpartisan offices shall conform to the requirements of section 32-628 RS Neb. Petitions shall state the office to be filled and the name and address of the candidate.
Petitions shall be signed by registered voters residing in the ward in which the officer is to be elected and shall be filed with the filing officer in the same manner as provided for candidate filing forms in section 32-607 RS Neb. Petition signers and circulators shall conform to the requirements of section 32-629 and 32-630 RS Neb. No petition for nomination shall be filed unless there is attached thereto a Municipal Treasurers receipt showing payment of the filing fee required pursuant to section 1-710 of this Code. Such petitions shall be filed by September 1st in the year of the general election. (Ref 32-617, 32-618 RS Neb.)
§1-709 ELECTIONS; REGISTERED VOTERS; QUALIFICATIONS. All registered voters residing within the corporate limits of the Municipality on or before election day shall be entitled to vote at all Municipal elections. For purposes of this section, registered voter shall mean an elector, as defined by section 32-110 RS Neb., who has a current voter registration record on file with the Election Commissioner or County Clerk. (Ref 17-602, 32-110, 32-115 RS Neb.)
§1-710 ELECTIONS; CERTIFICATE OF NOMINATION. The Election Commissioner, County Clerk, or Municipal Clerk shall, within forty (40) days after the primary election, prepare, sign, and deliver a certificate of nomination to each person whom the County Canvassing Board has declared to have received sufficient votes to be nominated as a candidate for the general election. (Ref 32-558, 32-1033 RS Neb.)
§1-711 ELECTIONS; CERTIFICATE OF ELECTION. The Election Commissioner, County Clerk, or Municipal Clerk shall, within forty (40) days after the election, prepare, sign, and deliver a certificate of election to each person whom the County Canvassing board has declared to have received the highest vote for each Municipal office. (Ref 32-558, 32-1033 RS Neb.)
§1-712 ELECTIONS; INABILITY TO ASSUME OFFICE. (1) If the candidate who received the highest number of votes for a nonpartisan office in a general election is ineligible, disqualified, deceased, or for any other reason unable to assume the office for which he or she was a candidate and the registered voters had reasonable notice of such disability at the time of the election, the candidate who received the next highest number of votes to the candidates who would normally receive certificates of election shall be declared elected and shall be entitled to a certificate of election if he or she received not less than thirty-five percent (35%) of the total number of votes cast for the office in the election and the number of persons to be elected for the office is not greater than two (2) and not less than ten percent (10%) when the number of persons to be nominated for the office is greater than two (2). If the candidate who received the next highest number of votes received less than the required percentage, if no other person was a candidate for the office, or if the registered voters did not have reasonable notice at the time of the election of the disability of the candidate who received the highest number of votes to merit a certificate of election, a vacancy in such office shall be declared to exist at the time of commencement of the term, and the vacancy may be filled as prescribed by law for such office.
(2) The determination of whether the registered voters had reasonable notice for purposes of this section shall be made by the appropriate filing officer under section 32-607 RS Neb. The decision of the filing officer may be appealed to the district court. (Ref 32-626(2) & (3) RS Neb.)
§1-713 ELECTIONS; RECALL PROCEDURE. (1) Any or all of the elected officials of the Municipality may be removed from office by recall pursuant to sections 32-1301 to 32-1309 RS Neb.
(2) Petition circulators shall conform to the requirements of the Election Act. Each circulator of a recall petition shall be a registered voter and qualified by his or her residence to vote for the office in question on the date of the issuance of the initial petition papers.
(3) The petition papers shall be procured from the Municipal Clerk, who shall keep a sufficient number of such blank petition papers on file for distribution. Each petition paper shall conform to the requirements of section 32-1304 RS Neb. Prior to the issuance of such petition papers, an affidavit shall be signed and filed with the Municipal Clerk by at least one registered voter. Such voter or voters shall be deemed to be the principal circulator or circulators of the recall petition. The affidavit shall state the name and office of the official sought to be removed and shall request that the Municipal Clerk issue initial petition papers to the principal circulator for circulation. The Municipal Clerk shall notify the principal circulator or circulators that the necessary signatures must be gathered within thirty (30) days from the date of issuing the petitions.
(4) The Municipal Clerk, upon issuing the initial petition papers or any subsequent petition papers, shall enter in a record, to be kept in his or her office, the name of the principal circulator or circulators to whom the papers were issued, the date of issuance, and the number of papers issued. The Municipal Clerk shall certify on the papers the name of the principal circulator or circulators to whom the papers were issued and the date they were issued. No petition paper shall be accepted as part of the petition unless it bears such certificate. The principal circulator or circulators who check out petitions from the Municipal Clerk may distribute such petitions to registered voters residing in the district who may act as circulators of such petitions.
(5) Petition signers shall conform to the requirements of the Election Act. Each signer of a recall petition shall be a registered voter and qualified by his or her place of residence to vote for the office in question on the date of the issuance of the initial petition papers.
(6) A petition demanding that the question of removing an elected official be submitted to the registered voters shall be signed by registered voters equal in number to at least thirty-five percent (35%) of the total vote cast for that office in the last general election, except that for an office for which more than one candidate is chosen, the petition shall be signed by registered voters equal in number to at least thirty-five percent (35%) of the number of votes cast for the person receiving the most votes for such office in the last general election.
(7) The principal circulator or circulators shall file, as one instrument, all petition papers comprising a recall petition for signature verification with the Municipal Clerk within thirty (30) days after the Municipal Clerk issues the initial petition papers to the principal circulator or circulators. Within fifteen (15) days after the filing of the petition, the Municipal Clerk shall ascertain whether or not the petition is signed by the requisite number of registered voters. No new signatures may be added after the initial filing of the petition papers. No signatures may be removed unless the Municipal Clerk receives an affidavit signed by the person requesting his or her signature be removed before the petitions are filed with the Municipal Clerk for signature verification. If the petition is found to be sufficient, the Municipal Clerk shall attach to the petition a certificate showing the result of such examination. If the requisite number of signature has not been gathered, the Municipal Clerk shall file the petition in his or her office without prejudice to the filing of a new petition for the same purpose.
(8) If the recall petition is found to be sufficient, the Municipal Clerk shall notify the official whose removal is sought and the Governing Body that sufficient signatures have been gathered. If the official does not resign within five (5) days after receiving the notice, the Governing Body shall order an election to be held not less than thirty (30) nor more than forty-five (45) days after the expiration of the five-day period, except that if any other election is to be held in that district within ninety (90) days of the expiration of the five-day period, the Governing Body shall provide for the holding of the removal election on the same day. After the Governing Body sets the date for the recall election, the recall election shall be held regardless of whether the official whose removal sought resigns before the recall election is held.
(9) If a majority of the votes cast at a recall election are against the removal of the official named on the ballot or the election results in a tie, the official shall continue in office for the remainder of his or her term but may be subject to further recall attempts as provided in subsection (11) of this section. If a majority of the votes cast at a recall election are for the removal of the official named on the ballot, he or she shall, regardless of any technical defects in the recall petition, be deemed removed from office unless a recount is ordered. If the official is deemed removed, the removal shall result in a vacancy in the office which shall be filled as provided in section 1-104 of this Code. If the election results show a margin of votes equal to one percent (1%) or less between the removal or retention of the official in question, the Election Commissioner shall order a recount of the votes cast unless the official named on the ballot files a written statement with the Municipal Clerk that he or she does not want a recount. If there are vacancies in the offices of a majority or more of the members of the Governing Body at one time due to the recall of such members, a special election to fill such vacancies shall be conducted as expeditiously as possible by the Secretary of State or the Election Commissioner.
(10) No official who is removed at a recall election or who resigns after the initiation of the recall process shall be appointed to fill the vacancy resulting from his or her removal or the removal of another member of the Governing Body during the remainder of his or her term of office.
(11) No recall petition shall be filed against an elected official within twelve (12) months after a recall petition has failed to remove him or her from office or within six (6) months after the beginning of his or her term of office or within six (6) months prior to the incumbent filing deadline for the office. (Ref 32-1301 through 32-1309 RS Neb.)