A bill that would have required Nebraska voters to show government identification at the polls was squashed Wednesday by a legislative filibuster, but the senator who introduced the measure said he’ll likely introduce it again next year. Lawmakers who backed the bill fell three votes short of the support they needed to stop debate on the measure. As a result, the matter is essentially dead for this legislative session. The vote to end the eight-hour debate was 30-16. Bill supporters needed 33 votes. The divide in the officially nonpartisan Legislature fell mostly along party lines. “That was unfortunate,” said the measure’s sponsor, Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen, who wants to bring the bill back next year. “It wasn’t put forward as a partisan issue. It was never intended to be a partisan issue, but in the end I think that’s what happened. I think people closed their ears and didn’t want to compromise, which was evident when we were trying to reach out to them.”
… Critics blasted the proposal as an attempt to keep poor, elderly, disabled and college-aged voters from casting a ballot. In the heat of the debate Tuesday, Omaha Sen. Tanya Cook likened the measure to old, southern Jim Crow laws designed to keep blacks and poor whites from voting. “This is Jim Crow light,” she said. A group representing Nebraska counties also opposed the bill, saying the verification requirements could cost counties tens of thousands of dollars in each election.
Janssen said the bill would apply to roughly 2 percent of Nebraska voters who lack a state driver’s license or other acceptable identification. He said it would cost Nebraska’s 93 counties a combined $15,000 for each statewide election.
Sen. Steve Lathrop, an attorney from Omaha, said the bill seeks to address a problem that doesn’t exist. He said anyone who impersonates a voter could face a felony charge under current law, and the bill runs afoul of a constitutional rule that bans voting obstacles. “We cannot present any impediment or hindrance to somebody’s right to vote,” Lathrop said. “And we certainly can’t justify it when we can’t articulate a problem that isn’t already addressed in the process we have.”
Full Article: Filibuster kills Nebraska voter ID measure.