With most of Nebraska’s election technology now roughly a decade old, its Legislature is considering a pair of bills that would help chart the future of voting in the state. Secretary of State John Gale coordinated with state Sen. Tommy Garrett to introduce a bill last week that would convene a task force to spend 2017 studying the state’s voting technology, and investigate whether a move to all-mail or online voting would be feasible in the next few years. Meanwhile, state Sen. Matt Hansen introduced a measure earlier this month to convene a legislative committee to conduct a similar study over the next few months. Neither of the measures would result in immediate changes, but Gale told StateScoop that both bills represent meaningful first steps for the state. “We really don’t have a crisis at this point, but it’s timely to start thinking ahead,” Gale said.
… Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, said that focus is a prudent one given his research into election technology funding around the country.
“Elections in the United States are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to priorities in terms of spending,” Norden said. “Historically, it’s fallen on local governments to take care of this … and they only think about elections infrastructure when there’s a problem.”
Norden noted that he’s “not thrilled” about the state’s consideration of Internet voting, given the many security risks still associated with the process, but praised both efforts on the table for bringing in a “wide variety of stakeholders” to tackle the problem.