Gov. Pete Ricketts has appointed Brian Kruse, an Omaha funeral director, to the post of Douglas County election commissioner.
Kruse will succeed Dave Phipps, whose term will expire at the end of the year.
The appointment prompted Nebraskans for Civic Reform to renew its call for transparency and openness in the appointment process when governors choose election commissioners for Douglas, Sarpy and Lancaster counties, including the names of all applicants. The appointments do not require legislative confirmation.
During the 2012 election, Nebraskans for Civic Reform said there were “numerous incidents where voters were unlawfully denied the right to cast their ballots” in Douglas County.
“Incorrect polling locations were mailed out and improper training of poll workers resulted in voters being turned away at the polls,” said Bri McLarty, director of voting rights at Nebraskans for Civic Reform.
Those incidents resulted in “the required presence of and supervision by Department of Justice personnel of elections in Douglas County,” she said.
“Transparency and openness during the appointment process would go a long way toward rebuilding the voters’ trust and ensuring fairness in future elections in Nebraska’s largest country,” McLarty said.
Kruse is a funeral director at Braman Mortuary in Omaha and he has worked as an assistant unclaimed property administrator in the state treasurer’s office.
The new Douglas County election commissioner has volunteered in a number of Republican campaigns and most recently was treasurer for Sen. Beau McCoy’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign.