You can count proposed legislative and congressional redistricting reform in Nebraska among the victims of COVID-19.

A comprehensive initiative petition drive bolstered by an array of high-profile civic organizations was scheduled to blossom statewide at about the time the virus swept across the state a few months ago and the effort was suddenly frozen in its tracks.

“It was a really heartbreaking decision,” Danielle Conrad, executive director of ACLU of Nebraska, said Thursday. “But it was not safe to go.

“We didn’t see a pathway forward. We were not going to take public health risks for signature-gatherers or signees.”

And so the 2021 Legislature will tackle the task of redistricting following completion of the 2020 federal census without reforms that would have created an independent citizens commission designed to remove raw partisanship from controlling and dominating the process.