[Image via sos.ne.gov]
Nebraska’s John Gale, one of the nation’s longest-serving Secretaries of State, has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018. The Associated Press has the story:
Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2018, ending a career that focused on expanding voter participation and upgrading election equipment.
Gale has served as the state’s top elections official since 2000, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Johanns. His decision sets the stage for a potentially competitive race to replace him.
“Being Secretary of State has been one of the most fulfilling, exciting and memorable experiences of my career,” Gale said in a statement. “I feel very lucky to have been able to offer my public service as a constitutional officer to Nebraska and its citizens.”
Gale, a Republican, spent much of his tenure working to expand ballot access through early voting and voting by mail, although he has supported controversial bills to require that voters show a government-issued ID at polling sites. In 2015, his office launched an online voter registration system.
He also took steps to upgrade online services for businesses, banks and other financial institutions that have to register with his office.
Gale replaced Scott Moore as secretary of state in 2000 and was first elected to the office in 2002.
The 76-year-old practiced law in North Platte for 29 years before taking his current job. He also worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Roman Hruska in Washington and an assistant U.S. attorney in Nebraska.
Secretary Gale has been one constant in all my years working in the elections field. He has always been a straight shooter and someone who clearly believes in the importance of well-run elections to the nation’s democracy – and acts accordingly. It’s unsurprising that he’s making this announcement now out of respect for the candidates to succeed him; that’s the kind of gentleman and public servant he is. Whoever replaces him in the Cornhusker State will have huge shoes to fill.
I have no doubt that Sec. Gale’s decision will set off a spirited debate about Nebraska’s future – stay tuned!