Libertarian Party of Nebraska Newsletter
Two New Affiliates Join the Fight for Freedom
On January 16th we launched the new affiliate “Blue River Basin LP” which encompasses four counties: Fillmore, Saline, Thayer and Jefferson. Former Nebraska State Senator, and Senior Fellow at the Platte Institute Laura Ebke was kind enough to attend and we had some really great discussion. Our next meet up will be on February 20th at Lazy Horse Brewing in Ohiowa. Anyone can attend and we highly suggest bringing a liberty curious friend!
On January 24th we traveled to Ogallala to launch an affiliate around the North Platte area, which we are calling the Platte Valley and Western Nebraska LP . We had a great turnout of people who were curious as to what libertarians are and what we plan on doing in the future. We will keep you posted as soon as the next meet up is scheduled..
Ranked Choice Voting in Nebraska
Resolution Supporting LB 125 Ranked Choice Voting
The purpose of this Resolution is to express the support of the Nebraska Libertarian Party towards LB 125, Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). This Bill has been proposed for the 2021 session of the Nebraska Unicameral.
Our reasons for supporting this legislation are as follows.
The current ballot we are using for Nebraska elections is outdated and ineffective for both Primary and General Elections. That ballot, known technically as either the Winner Take All (WTA) or First Past the Post (FPTP) ballot, has the following flaws, which applies to all voters, regardless of party affiliation or preferred political philosophy. That ballot–
- Limits voter choice.
- Restricts competition between candidates.
- Encourages negative campaigning.
- Cannot guarantee a majority winner.
- Discourages voting because of the “wasted vote’ or spoiler scenario.
- Can contribute to feelings of illegitimacy towards election results.
- Does not give a plurality winner a mandate to govern.
Conversely, the modern RCV ballot
- Allows full expression of voter choice.
- Expands competition between candidates.
- Discourages negative campaigning.
- Guarantees a majority winner in every election.
- Encourages voting because the “wasted vote” or spoiler scenario is eliminated.
- Decreases feelings of illegitimacy towards election results.
- Provides the winner, by virtue of their majority victory, a mandate to govern.
The coming election for Nebraska Governor in 2022 offers an especially potent opportunity for an electoral disaster with the existing ballot. The number of anticipated candidates means chances are high nominees will have earned their nominations with only a low plurality percentage of the vote and not the preferred majority of 50% plus one or better.
Nebraska can avoid this potential disaster by approving RCV in 2021 for use in 2022.
The Nebraska Libertarian Party strongly urges that approval be given and RCV be made the way elections are done in Nebraska.
District 1 report: what the heck is a district coordinator anyway?
By Amy Wimer
When I go out to meetings or handle phone calls from new folks, I get that question a lot – what does a district coordinator do? In short, we are the liaison between our counties and the State Central Committee, but in reality, we are what we put into the job. That has included the creation of new affiliates, attending meetings in each county to make sure they can handle any questions their attendees may have and even the creation of an affiliate standard operating procedures. The district coordinators can help navigate the waters of dealing with local election offices, fielding candidate questions or just general stress that can come with being a chair trying to grow the county.
My district is Congressional District 1, it’s counties include Dodge, Lancaster, Madison, Sarpy and Seward and quite a few more that haven’t been active in recent years. I’ve been working with the other district coordinators to help them out as well, especially District 3 because of its large area and due to the fact that I’m fairly familiar with much of D3. It’s been a great experience to meet Nebraskans across the state, and I’ll be writing some of my adventures in the coming months.
What I Learned in My First Year as Treasurer
By Josh Sexton
February 2020 I was attending our state convention and having a fantastic time talking with old friends and making new ones. I had been active in the Nebraska Libertarian Party community for about 7 years and this was my third convention, it had that homecoming feeling, spending a weekend with likeminded friends. Then came time for the election of Officers.
I had been talking with some of my friends who had stressed the need for people willing to do the work, to step up, put their shoulder into the plow and push. I talked with Gene Siadek, a friend who was the current treasurer. He was running for a district coordinator spot this go around but he told me about his long tenure as state treasurer. “It isn’t the most glamorous job but it is one of the most important” he told me. He laid out the state reports that needed to be filed and the regulations along with the balancing and bill paying. He was right, it didn’t sound glamorous, but I decided to run for the office. Doing some work behind the scenes and helping out the cause of liberty sounded worth it, plus it would be freeing up the talents of others like Gene to work to grow county affiliates and to run impressive races for senate (which Gene did in the 2020 general election later that year, pulling nearly 6% of the vote in his race which was more than a point increase over our 2018 senate race showing).
The moment arrived; I got up and gave a little speech. It was kind of a blur, I’m sure it didn’t really make sense, but it (along with no one else wanting to grind out spreadsheets for Liberty) put me over the top and POOF I was a treasurer.
Over the coming months Gene and I would meet for lunch and go over the books and between that and long phone call conversations I was off to the races. Right away I realized that it wouldn’t be as simple as balancing a checking account. We had multiple streams of potential donations and they all needed to be reconciled. Along with that, the state requires 6 separate reports be filed on specific dates during an election year. It was a lot to take in right out of the gate but that is when I learned my first lesson as treasurer, the people in this party will help you!
The people willing to work hard for a state office, especially one with, as little prestige as “Libertarian state party official in Nebraska”, are people who believe in what they are doing. They are people who are willing to sacrifice nights and weekends to fight a game of inches because it is important to them to build a stronger party. And, as it turns out, that means they will take the time to talk you through your first state filing, they will help look over your first balance sheets, they will spend a whole night texting back and forth trying to get your Internet banking log in verified. We have fantastic people in our state party.
At first glance the state of our finances was at first pretty disheartening. We had a small “war chest”. If you look at people like the GOP in our state which raised and spent about 4.5 million in the last election cycle and compare that to us, David had better odds facing Goliath. I wasn’t surprised by that, but I was glad to see we had at least something to build on. Then I dug into the reoccurring donations. Turns out that a state with over 16,000 registered libertarians (at that time, we have grown fantastically since then), with multiple active county parties, with a state convention that got an impressive turn out we only had about 10 people donating regularly to the party. Of that small group most of them where people who held office and were already doing the work the grow the party.
I won’t lie to you, the first couple of months I balanced and felt depressed for our state. Then I learned something new, when people are driven, they can do a whole hell of a lot with only a little. We hosted an event for Spike Coen using more sweat than cash, we planted new county affiliates across the state, and started a booster pack program to help drive up engagement. Little by little I saw engagement growing and little by little my faith grew too. By then end of the year the number of people willing to invest in our state party had well more than doubled!
Think about that for a moment, these are people who work for their money, have families and bills, who are suffering through a pandemic unlike anything anyone alive has had to go through, and still these people see value in what the party is working for. They see so much value in fact, that they want to be a part of it. They will chip in their 5, 10, or 25 dollars a month to make sure it keeps growing. We are on the move! The last thing I learned this year was in the role that came along with my role as Treasurer was serving on the State Central committee. I hadn’t given that part much thought when I ran. I thought, “I’ll be treasurer, I’ll work in some spreadsheets and fill out some forms and that’s that”, but as an elected official I also serve on the Sate Central Committee. Bi weekly committee meetings shed new insights into how dedicated and driven those people are who agreed to put their shoulder to the plow for liberty are. Thousands of miles driven on their own dime to build the party and spread liberty. Hours upon hours of project work, data analysis, networking and email correspondence. With their dedication I learned that $100 in their hands can do more outreach than $1,000 in the GOPs.
In spite of our smaller party numbers, I learned that when our people step up, when YOU step up, there is no one I would rather stand beside.
By H.A. Larson
The past eleven months of our lives have been marked by plague, civil unrest, a tumultuous Presidential election, and a divide so great that it’s like staring into the mouth of the Grand Canyon. By far the most troubling issue, however, is the mass silencing of dissension. Being a dissenter these days can include the seemingly mundane: questioning masks, being disturbed by violent protests (no matter who’s perpetuating them), and making innocent jokes.
The silencing is most evident and felt the hardest in the realm of social media. Powerhouses like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, can shut down those who disagree with them – even the President. Do they have the right to do so? Absolutely. As companies, they have the autonomy to operate as their executives see fit. But, is it the smart thing to do?
Not if you consider that a healthy, vibrant society is made up of many kinds of people. People who share differences of opinions on many things. Learning how someone else thinks about a particular topic or belief is good for the brain, forcing one to think about things in ways they hadn’t thought before or allowing them to gain more insight into how others think. By contrast, living in an echo chamber as we see more and more prominently in social media over these past months, allows a lopsided, dangerous narrative to take root.
Recently, our Douglas County affiliate suffered a couple of 30-day Facebook bans for posting fairly innocuous things. The bans effectively silenced them, not allowing them to post or comment. This isn’t anything new, as many pages, groups, and individuals have dealt with this before. What is new, however, is the swiftness of the bans and the criteria on which the bans are based on. This is a scary thing in a world where our lives and our messages depend on social media dissemination. Social media platforms are a great way to connect with people who can see our message and decide that they like what they see and might decide to go to a meeting, get active, or join us in Liberty.
The dissension and subsequent silencing should force us to think about our social media presence. When we rely solely on social media, we’re building our house on someone else’s land, and at any time, they can tear our house down – just ask our former President – and leave us homeless. And it’s only going to get worse. It’s time to find other ways to remain relative in the changing social media landscape.
Check out all the places we were last month!
- Dodge County LP Feb 6th @ BW3’s in Fremont.
- Tricities LP January 9th @ Thunderhead Brewing in Kearney.
- Sarpy Co Jan 11th @ Ozzy’s Roadhouse. CiviCRM intro and demonstration, local events to attend.
- Douglas County LP Jan 14th @ Pat & Mike’s Bar & Grill. Jan 16th Karaoke Night at Rusty Nail in Omaha.
- Blue River Basin LP Jan 16th @ Molcajete Restaurant in Geneva. Meet-up with new members and organizing.
- Western Nebraska LP January 20th at Sam and Louie’s in Scottsbluff.
- Lancaster Co Jan 22nd Range Day at Big Shots in Lincoln. Business Meeting Wed, Feb 3 at Code Beer to accommodate Lancaster County DHMs.
- Southwest Nebraska Libertarian Party Jan 23rd @ Lost Way Brewery in Holdrege, NE. NTV interviewed SNLP Chair Tyler Cappel and State Chair Jared Wimer.
- Platte Valley and Western Nebraska LP Jan 24th @ Driftwood in Ogallala. Meet-up and organizing meeting.
- Seward County LP Jan 30th @ Bottle Rocket Brewing Co. in Seward.