Sens. John Murante of Gretna and Adam Morfeld of Lincoln sparred good-naturedly Thursday over the need for voter identification requirements in Nebraska. At issue was Morfeld’s proposed constitutional amendment (LR15CA) to prohibit voter ID mandates, a proposal that he acknowledged was offered in direct response to Murante’s proposal for a constitutional amendment that would clear the path for voter photo ID requirements in Nebraska. Either proposal would be submitted for voter approval in 2018 if it clears the Legislature with at least 30 votes.
Early in a hearing before the Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee chaired by Murante, the Gretna senator offered Morfeld what he described as a compromise: Would he be willing to support placing both proposals on the ballot?
Morfeld rejected that suggestion, arguing that the cost of meeting ID requirements that might be imposed by the Legislature would be tantamount to “a poll tax” and decrease voter accessibility for some identifiable groups.
Among them, he said, might be low-income Nebraskans, people of color, mobile young people, students, people with disabilities and older people, many of whom might have difficulty acquiring or paying for mandated identification.