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Council Votes To Uphold Mayor's Veto

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Council Votes To Uphold Mayor's Veto

By Josh Egbert. CREATED Nov 26, 2013

OMAHA, NE- The Omaha City Council did not try to override Mayor Jean Stothert's voting veto, meaning people just outside the city limits will not be voting in city elections.

Council unanimously voted to uphold the veto. It would have allowed more than 60,000 non-residents to vote in city elections.

"A citizen asked a question "how can the city have such power over the citizens that cannot vote for you?" said Councilmen Thompson.

It was that question that got Omaha City Councilman Franklin Thompson thinking.

"It was a legitimate question. It was a tough question. I was a question that I decided not to ignore." said Thompson.

So two weeks ago, Thompson introduced a plan to have the state legislature approve a bill that would have opened up Omaha's ballot box to those who live in a 3-mile area outside the city limits, the right to vote in mayor and city council races.

"I think this is a discussion that needed to be had, first of all I think the non-residents that live within the 3 mile zone, didn't understand why they didn't get to vote." said council member Aimee Melton.

Something Rhonda Johnson didn't know when she went to vote this past May.

"I went to the polling place to vote and I was unaware I couldn't vote for the mayor. I went up and got my ballot and went back to the election people and they said you're not allowed to vote for the mayor." said Johnson.

Last week, city council approved the measure 4-3 that would allow those non-residents to vote. But that decision was vetoed by Mayor Jean Stothert, who said there are too many potential legal and administrative problems with the proposal.

In a change of heart, Councilman Thompson, agreed with the mayor.

"I will be voting in favor of the mayors veto." said Thompson.

Most of these areas are in Sanitary and Improvement Districts, which are usually annexed from the city after they are fully populated.

Councilman Thompson says he doesn't expect the topic to be discussed again, anytime soon.