Nebraska Citizen Activist Honored for Efforts to Protect State Initiative Process

Wed, Apr 27 2011

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Nebraska citizen activist Kent Bernbeck with the April 2011 John Lilburne Award for his continued work to make Nebraska’s initiative process more open and accessible to citizens.

“Kent is a citizen who decided he’d seen enough attacks on citizen initiative rights and got involved,” said Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob. “He is a strong believer in citizens having a stronger voice in government and has worked tirelessly for many years to defend that right.”

Kent is a veteran of the citizen initiative process, having worked on numerous initiative campaigns over the years helping citizens utilize their petition rights. He recently filed a case against the state of Nebraska in federal court, challenging the constitutionality of restrictions placed on the initiative process by the legislature. Bernbeck v. Gale is still pending. Kent will also manage a task force recently created to look into the effects of the restrictions placed on the process by the legislature and a report is due sometime later this year.

“Kent has done pretty much everything possible in terms of working to protect and expand citizen initiative rights,” Jacob added. “He filed lawsuits when citizen rights were trampled, collected signatures, testified before the legislature to protect the state initiative process, and even run for office. He has done all these with the goal of keeping the citizens’ voice strong in their government, and for that we honor him with this month’s award.”

A poll commissioned in the summer of 2010 by the Citizens in Charge and Citizens in Charge Foundation found that Nebraska voters favor having a statewide initiative process by a roughly four-to-one margin.

Each month, Citizens in Charge Foundation presents the John Lilburne Award to a citizen, group of citizens or organization doing the most to protect and defend the First Amendment petition rights of Americans.  John Lilburne was a 17th Century English pamphleteer, political activist, and champion of individual rights who advocated constitutional government and pioneered the use of petitioning and referenda for redress against government power and abuse. For a complete list of past Lilburne Award winners please click here.

Citizens in Charge Foundation is the only national transpartisan voter rights group dedicated to protecting and expanding the ballot initiative and referendum process without regard to partisanship and politics. We believe good government starts with the voter. For more information visit us at: