Another year, another frustration for backers of requiring voter identification in Nebraska. State lawmakers on Thursday fell short of cutting off debate and advancing a proposed voter ID constitutional amendment. The vote marks the eighth year in a row that voter ID legislation has been blocked. State Sen. John Murante of Gretna, who introduced Legislative Resolution 1CA, said he is exploring the possibility of going directly to voters via an initiative petition drive. “This is not the end of the discussion,” he said. “There will come a day when the issue is taken out of the hands of legislators.” A second Murante proposal, which some dubbed “voter ID lite,” cleared first-round consideration later on Thursday after all of the voter identification provisions were stripped out.
Articles about voting issues in Nebraska.
Nebraska: Bill that would subtract noncitizens in redistricting count raises constitutional questions | Lincoln Journal Star
The new plan for drawing election boundaries looks a lot like the original plan settled on during a 1920 Nebraska Constitutional Convention, Sen. John Murante told the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The problem is the old plan requiring the state to count “the population excluding aliens,” or noncitizens, for the purposes of setting legislative district boundaries had been forgotten — or ignored — by the Legislature in recent memory. Murante’s solution (LB1115) hearkened back to Article III, Section 5 of the Nebraska Constitution. It removes the estimated number of non-U.S. citizens living in the state, according to the Census Bureau, from being counted for redistricting purposes.
A federal voter registration form incorrectly instructs potential voters that no felons can vote in Nebraska. But, under state law, voting rights are automatically restored two years after felons complete their sentences. The Nebraska Legislature changed the law in 2005. The inaccurate instructions on the National Voter Registration Form were pointed out by the nonpartisan voter advocacy group Campaign Legal Center in a letter to Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale last month.
Sen. John Murante told the Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday that a plan requiring Nebraskans to show identification before they vote would not exclude any legally entitled voters from casting a ballot. As part of Murante’s latest proposal (LB1066) to secure the state’s elections, as he put it, Nebraskans would also be entitled to receive a free government ID they could show to poll workers. LB1066 would work toward two goals Murante, of Gretna, said he wants to see accomplished in the state: preventing illegal votes from being cast while not turning anyone away from the polls who is eligible to vote.
Nebraska: While Voter ID Law is Pushed in Legislature, County Election Officials Say Voter Fraud is Not an Issue | NCN
While state lawmakers argue over the need for photo ID’s to stop allegations of vote fraud, folks we talked with want to know more. “I haven’t really heard much about it,” says Nebraska resident Justice Chwebach. “I have not heard it (voter fraud) before since you brought it up,” says Nebraska resident Theresa Veit. Ten county election commissioners interviewed by News Channel Nebraska say that in their combined 150-plus years on the job, showing a photo ID at the ballot box would not have prevented voter fraud, not once.
Promising a “basket of options” for lawmakers to consider, Sen. John Murante on Wednesday introduced a trio of bills he said ensure future integrity in Nebraska’s elections without suppressing votes. As he promised in December, Murante once again introduced a voter ID bill (LB1066) that would require voters to present a current form of identification before they could vote. According to the bill, appropriate forms of ID include driver’s licenses, state, college or university-issued ID cards, passports or military IDs — which 97 percent of Nebraskans already carry, Murante said. Voters could apply to the Secretary of State’s office for a free photo ID that would comply with the state law, which would come at some cost to the state’s general fund, Murante said, particularly during a budget squeeze.
Nebraska: Not giving up on voter ID push, Senator plans to introduce new legislation | Omaha World Herald
A Gretna state senator is not giving up on bringing voter identification to Nebraska. Days after an opponent of voter ID visited Omaha, Sen. John Murante called a press conference Tuesday to say he plans to introduce a package of legislation with more than one option for enacting voter ID in the state. The details are still being worked out, and the senator did not offer specifics. “I am confident that these options will preserve the integrity of our elections without turning a single lawful voter away from the polls,” Murante said.
Nebraska: Voting rights activist says Nebraskans should ‘fight like crazy’ against voter ID laws | Omaha World Herald
Nebraska is a rare conservative-leaning state without a voter ID law, a voting rights activist said in Omaha on Thursday, and he suggested that Nebraskans work to keep it that way. Jason Kander of Let America Vote and a former Missouri secretary of state spoke at an event for the nonprofit Nebraskans for Civic Reform, which is run by State Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln. Kander told the gathering at Love’s Jazz and Art Center that his goal is to make sure there are political consequences for politicians who pass voter ID and similar laws.
When Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse tells election officials from other states how votes are counted in Nebraska’s largest county, the responses vary. “Oh, that’s painful,” is one response. “How long did you work?” is another. “We like to say, ‘Well, 26 hours, but we loved every minute of it,’” Kruse told members of the Nebraska Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee during a hearing Thursday. In Douglas County, all of the ballots are brought to a central location and tallied. Kruse compared that with Birmingham, Alabama, where votes on election night are tallied at the precincts and results are reported in about four hours.
A Nebraska lawmaker is concerned about the practice of ballot collection by third parties. Volunteers have been stationed outside Millard Public Schools in Omaha to collect completed mail-in ballots for the levy override election ending Nov. 14. The vote involves an extra 9-cent property tax levy authority for the school board, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Volunteer organizers said the effort is aimed at boosting turnout. They said they collect and turn in anyone’s ballot regardless of the person’s opinion on the override. Organizers said the effort is a matter of convenience in a time when people are less likely to possess stamps.