Donald Trump Wants Nebraska to Allocate Its Electoral Votes on a Winner-Take-All Basis This Year

In 2020, Joe Biden earned one Electoral College vote in the firmly red state thanks to its unique split-vote system. Now, Nebraska Republicans are rushing to change state law and prevent a repeat in November

Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock President Donald Trump signs a bill on Dec. 20, 2019
Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock President Donald Trump signs a bill on Dec. 20, 2019

While two-thirds of the nation favor abolishing the Electoral College, Nebraska Republicans are looking to strengthen it, as an effort to undo the state's uniquely representative electoral vote system picks up traction ahead of the 2024 election.

Former President Donald Trump and Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen are calling on the state legislature to quickly pass a bill that would change the way Nebraska allocates its electoral votes in November. Their proposal would undoubtedly help Trump in his quest for another White House term.

Nebraska and Maine are the only states in the U.S. that divvy up their Electoral College votes based on who wins each congressional district, which makes the final outcome more representative of the population. Elsewhere in the U.S., the statewide winner receives all electoral votes, even if the candidate only wins by a razor-thin margin (hence why the Electoral College remains unpopular among Americans).

Related: Hillary Clinton Notes Her Popular Vote Win in Urging 'Overwhelming' Biden Support: 'Take It from Me'

Nebraska is a firmly red state, and the statewide winner is all but guaranteed to be a Republican — but the congressional district surrounding Omaha occasionally swings blue, allowing Democrats the opportunity to pick up a single electoral vote. In 2020, Nebraska's split-vote system did just that, granting Joe Biden one Electoral College vote that he wouldn't have received if Nebraska had followed a winner-take-all system.

That's where Trump's plan comes in as he does the 2024 electoral math: If he can get the Nebraska Legislature to pass a bill that moves to a winner-take-all system, he can ensure that Biden receives one less electoral vote than in 2020. Based on current polling, there's a chance that the single vote could decide between a Biden or Trump presidency.

“Most Nebraskans have wanted to go back to this system for a very long time, because it’s what 48 other States do," Trump wrote on Truth Social, commending Pillen for backing his idea. "It’s what the Founders intended, and it’s right for Nebraska. Thank you Governor for your bold leadership. Let’s hope the Senate does the right thing.”

Related: Electoral College Votes for Joe Biden as the Next President, Making Election Results Official

<p>Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty</p> Donald Trump speaks to New Hampshire voters on Jan. 23, 2024

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty

Donald Trump speaks to New Hampshire voters on Jan. 23, 2024

The biggest challenge for Trump — other than convincing lawmakers to set aside reservations about changing the rules in the middle of an election — is that Nebraska's legislative session ends in two weeks, leaving little time to move things forward.

“It’s just all about timing and management when it comes to getting bills successfully through the [Nebraska Legislature],” Republican state Sen. Tom Brewer, who leads the committee considering the bill, told the Lincoln Journal Star. “And it’s past the 11th hour with this. We just don’t have a way of making it fit.”

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Trump has not targeted Maine's split-vote system, which benefited him in 2020 when he picked up one electoral vote despite losing the overall vote to Biden.

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