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Call For Investigation into Election Commissioner

Released emails between Dave Phipps and Republican legislators Released emails between Dave Phipps and Republican legislators

Nicole Ebat

OMAHA(KPTM)-- The ballots are all cast in this year's election, but now comes a call for an investigation.

Nine community groups--made up partly with the Nebraskans for Civic Reform and the Latino Center of the Midlands-- are calling for a state investigation into the Douglas County Election Commissioner's actions in closing polling sites.

The groups say Dave Phipps was too involved in writing a state law that closed a third of the county's polling places.

Phipps admittedly wrote "95%" of the bill along with other republicans.

The groups want an explanation into why that was allowed to happen.

"So many people were confused about the polling places," said Willie Hamilton from the NAACP. "You have people that were taking two buses and a transfer to come down and to only be told that you're in the wrong location. Most of them said 'I'm gone man' and left."

The groups are arguing that was exactly what Phipps intended--to suppress the inner city vote. A group that tends to skew Democrat.

They point to recently released emails between Phipps and other Republican legislators celebrating the bill's passing. One refers to Phipps as "The evil mastermind behind this operation".

Phipps maintains there is nothing to actually investigate since he did nothing wrong.

"Those allegations are absolutely correct. I did talk to Senator Nelson's office. In fact I wrote 95% of LB449," said Phipps. "It allows us to save a tremendous amount of money, it adds email addresses to voter registration forms which is important and there's lots of different things in that bill that were very important to my office so we were very happy about it."

But his critics say if even one voter failed to cast a ballot because of the bill, it's too many.

"It's more important than ever that we have an opportunity to have an open and free election, that's what democracy is about. Anything that takes away from that should be a shame on this city, this country," said Hamilton.

Only five lawmakers voted against the bill - and Nebraska state senator Heath Mello chose not to vote on it.

About the accusations against Phipps "In order to ensure our electoral process remains fair and free of partisan influence, it's crucial that lawmakers investigate the actions that led to the polling place closures in the first place, and begin the process of seeking serious election reforms that focus on accountability and transparency." 

The Nebraskans for Civic Reform says from what it saw at the polls yesterday - at least 10% of voters showed up at the wrong place.

Phipps says that's normal for a general election.

An official complaint has been *not* been filed at this point.

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