Voters’ Guide: Nebraska Secretary of State

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

All Nebraskans are represented by this office.

Candidates for Nebraska Secretary of State

Spencer Danner (D):  Website:  http://www.dannerfornebraska.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: N/A.  Past Public Office, dates held: N/A.  Education: Bachelors Business Management.  Military experience: United States Air Force.  Volunteer experience: ACE Mentor Program Heartland Workforce Solutions.

Bob Evnen (R):  Website: http://www.BobEvnen2018.com.  Past Public Office, dates held: State Board of Education 2005-2012.  Education: BA – Michigan State JD – University of Southern California.  Volunteer experience: Cornhusker Council, Boy Scouts of America; Nebraska Art Association; Nebraska Continuing Legal Education; Nebraska State Bar Foundation; many school policy committees; speaker for many groups on public policy issues.

Nebraska Secretary of State Candidates’ Responses

Spencer Danner:  As Secretary of State, I will preserve the integrity and security of our elections.  Moving to 100% Mail in Balloting – 1st, is cost effective. 2nd, it has resulted in increased participation among voters. 3rd, it is easier for election officials to conduct. 4th, it allows for a more accurate picture of eligible voters, by keeping voting lists upto-date. 5th, it gives voters a longer opportunity to study the ballot and find answers.  Same Day Registration – Sameday registration would allow citizens to register by simply presenting a valid government-issued photo identification card and proof of residence at their polling place. This is the only instance where I believe Voter ID would be valid – not as an attempt to disenfranchise citizens.  Election Day Fail Safe – voters should be able to fix errors and omissions on their registration the day of election.  Replace antiquated machines and ensure the system is not susceptible or at least have a decreased risk of cyber-attack.

Bob Evnen: We must work to maintain the security of our elections statewide. I support voter ID, which is just common sense and can be implemented without disenfranchising properly registered voters. I also support checking voter registrations to independently confirm that registrants are U.S. citizens.  Our vote counting infrastructure will need to be modernized soon, and we can do so in a cost effective way. I support maintaining paper ballots. I will not support the use of computerized balloting at the polls.

What can the secretary of state’s office do to civically engage young Nebraskans?

Spencer Danner:  Allow 16-year old young people to pre-register to vote.  Prepare and encourage 16 to 18 year old young people to vote in the next eligible elections by creating Student Campaign Staff/Candidate Educational Courses.  Sponsor an Electoral College – for students looking to receive college credit for working on election campaigns, political issue campaigns, and lobby work.  Partner with educational institutions to work to have discussion on federal, state, and local that effect Nebraskans.  Create state wide youth service learning projects integrated in STEM, arts, cultural exchange, and public administration.  Partner with after school programs to create supplemental programs for high school students and teachers.

Bob Evnen:  The key to civic engagement is education. While sitting on the State Board of Education, I was the chair of our Subcommittee on Standards. In 2012 we adopted revised social studies standards, and with the standards the Board adopted a Statement of Purpose, which reads in part:  “The purpose of the Nebraska Social Studies Standards is to teach our children to become young patriots, who have an intellectual understanding of the genius of our country’s founding principles and who feel an emotional connection to our nation.”  The Board adopted this Statement of Purpose unanimously. The more effectively that we meet this purpose, the more civically engaged will be our young Nebraskans.

In an ideal world, how would you envision the relationship of the secretary of state’s office with the governor’s office?

Spencer Danner:  In an ideal world, the Governor of Nebraska would be an advocate for a fair, accessible, and inclusive government that works for all its citizens. Ideally, the Governor would champion the Secretary of State’s work to bring validity to the issues of modernizing elections, election security, agricultural exchange, small business growth and cyber security.  I believe the Secretary of State should partner with the Governor on issues that impact voters. I believe the Governor should use his/her political will to ensure agricultural exchange and trade is paramount for small business to export more goods to Nebraska than we import.  In a perfect world the Governor and Secretary of State would assume the responsibility of ensuring all legal voters in the state are registered to vote, citizens exercise their constitutional right to vote, and maintain a complete and accurate voter registration list, as well as taking responsibility to ensure the votes of Nebraskans are counted.

Bob Evnen:  The Governor and the Secretary of State should work collaboratively in areas of overlapping interest and responsibility but always consistent with their respective duties. For example, the Secretary of State is the protocol officer of the state, which makes the Secretary of State much like Nebraska’s ambassador to the world. If elected, I will use the status of the Secretary of State’s office to work with the Governor in negotiating international trade agreements that will expand Nebraska’s exports, particularly our ag export markets. I have had a long and positive relationship with our current Governor. I look forward to working together with him in expanding Nebraska’s export markets and growing Nebraska’s economy.

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