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Editorial: Nebraska Should Keep System That Permits Splitting Of Electoral Votes

This story was written by , Daily Nebraskan

In case you are confused, the election isn't over yet. Yes, Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States, andmost states know who their electoral votes are going for.

Not Nebraska.

Well, not part of Nebraska. The second congressional district is still too close to call, with a margin of fewer than 500 votes separating Obama from John McCain.

Currently, McCain is in the lead. But the margin is so small that a legally-mandated recount will likely take place.

Why does this matter whenthe rest of Nebraska voted, overwhelmingly, for McCain? It matters because unlike every other state except for Maine, Nebraska can split three of our electoral votes, depending on the winner of each congressional district.

When the DailyNebraskan addressedthis issue a month ago, it seemed like a remote possibility, even with Obama's heavy investment in Nebraska's second congressional district. Such a remote possibility that McCain neglected to have paid staff in the state.

Then Gov. Sarah Palin came to drum up support, followed by Sen. Hillary Clinton two weeks later.

It was clear that Omaha was in play, and the excitement was palpable.

Now that the results are in, it is clear that the second district is definitely a battleground -- and likely will continue to be in future elections.

Last month, we warned that Mark Quandahl, chief of the Nebraska Republican Party, and Gov. Dave Heineman are advocates of changing the way we allocate our electoral votes. Both have said splitting our electoral voters somehow weakens Nebraska's ability to get national attention. They believe our state should switch to a winner-take-all system.

Let's be clear: This would be a terrible idea, robbing hundreds of thousands of voters of the chance to make an impact on the national race.

Splitting our electoral votes is the reason Palin came to Omaha. It's the reason Clinton campaigned there as well.

It's the reason that the Associated Press and The New York Times have run special stories on Nebraska.

It's the reason that Nebraska has garnered so much national attention.

Nebraska is unique, and it deserves to stay that way.

Write to the governor. Let him know that we like being unique and we like having our voices heard. Democrat or Republican, this is something we can all get behind.

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