You have full Initiative & Referendum rights. Citizens can pass laws they write or suspend a statute passed by the Legislature by collecting enough petition signatures to place the statute on the statewide ballot for a decision by the voters. Voters can also initiate constitutional amendments by Initiative.

Coalition for an Open & Accessible Initiative Process:

Western Nebraska Taxpayers Association


See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.

Grade: C

Click here to view Nebraska’s individual report in Of the People, By the People, For the People: A 2010 Report Card on Statewide Voter Initiative Rights.

Citizen State Coordinator

For more information about how to get involved in protecting and expanding Nebraska’s initiative process, contact the Citizens in Charge Foundation Nebraska Citizen State Coordinator:

Mike Groene

Phone: (308) 530-7741

Email Mike


State Balloting Process

How you can change Nebraska’s government through ballot initiatives


Nebraska’s legislature in 1897 became the first in the nation to pass a
bill allowing initiative and referendum - but only in municipalities, not on
the state level. This bill was the Sheldon-Geiser Act, sponsored by state
legislator A. E. Sheldon… Read More

Ballot Qualifications & Schedule

Date initiative language can be submitted: Any time

Signatures are tied to vote of which office: Number of registered voters.

Current signatures total requirements: For statutes 7% of registered voters
at the time signatures are submitted and for amendments 10% of the
registered voters and for a popular referendum 5%. For a referendum that
suspends a law from taking effect, 10% of the registered voters must sign
the petition. The exact number needed is hard to calculate, as it depends
on the number of registered voters there are in the future – at the time the
signatures are submitted. However, as an estimate 80,992 signatures will
be needed for a statute and 115,703 for amendment. (These estimates
are based on the number of registered voters in November of 2000.)

Distribution Requirement: 5% must be gathered in 38 of 93 counties.

Circulation period: 1 year

Do circulators have to be residents: No

Date when signatures are due for certification: Initiative petition signatures
must be submitted to the Secretary of State no later than four months prior
to the general election.

Signature verification process: Petitions are turned into the Secretary of
State, who then gives the petitions to the respective counties to verify the
signatures. Each signature is compared with the voter registration records.

Single-subject requirement: Nebraska has a strict single-subject

Legislative tampering: Legislature can repeal and amend initiatives.

Excerpted from the Initiative & Referendum Almanac by M. Dane Waters.