Lincoln, NE – A ballot measure seeking to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026 has officially qualified for the November election.
Today, the Nebraska Secretary of State certified that the Fairness Project-supported Raise the Wage Nebraska campaign submitted more than the number of required valid signatures to qualify their measure for this year’s election. The ballot measure will gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026 and continue to adjust for inflation each subsequent year.
“Working Nebraskans are long overdue for a livable wage. We’re excited to share this milestone with Raise the Wage Nebraska and everyone involved in this campaign,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project. “We have repeatedly seen how ballot measures are an essential tool for voters to create urgently needed change when Washington fails to act. Time and time again, when common sense policies to ensure basic economic fairness are placed on the ballot, voters choose progress.”
Geographic requirements for ballot measure signature collection in Nebraska have been entrenched by conservative state lawmakers’ effort to block popular, progressive measures from qualifying. The state requires that, in addition to submitting signatures representing 7 percent of total registered voters in the state, campaigns also must collect signatures from 5 percent of registered voters in at least 38 of 95 counties, making signatures significantly more difficult and expensive to collect.
Despite these draconian requirements, Raise the Wage Nebraska submitted more than 150,000 signatures to the Secretary of State in July, including representation from all 93 counties — a testament to the urgent need for and popularity of a higher minimum wage. Currently, Nebraska’s minimum wage is only $9 an hour. About 20 percent of the state’s workforce will immediately benefit from higher wages if the measure is passed — more than 150,000 workers.
Since 2016, the Fairness Project has supported and won campaigns to increase the minimum wage in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Washington state, benefiting nearly 10 million workers and putting an additional $22 billion in working people’s pockets.
The Fairness Project has also supported two successful campaigns in Nebraska in previous cycles, including expanding Medicaid in the state via ballot measure in 2018 as well as a 2020 initiative to curb predatory payday lending.