Opponents of requiring photo identification to vote in Nebraska warn that court action is possible if lawmakers pass a bill this year that erodes or threatens voting rights. Two state senators introduced voter ID-related bills last week: Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill and Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus. Larson’s bill — cosigned by Sens. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft, Laura Ebke of Crete, Bill Kintner of Papillion, and Ken Schilz of Ogallala — would require voters to show a driver’s license or state ID card before voting at a polling place. Voters wouldn’t need an ID to request a mail-in ballot except when registering for the first time. “When we have to show an ID to write a check or buy alcohol (but not to vote), I find that to be wrong,” Larson said.
Nebraska legislators are weighing a bill that would reinstate a “winner-take-all” system of awarding presidential electoral votes. The state’s unicameral legislature is in its second day of debating a bill that would scrap Nebraska’s two-decade-old system of awarding one electoral vote per congressional district and two electoral votes to the statewide winner. Nebraska, which has three districts and five electoral votes, and Maine are the only two states that eschew the winner-take-all system and use this district-based system instead.
Nebraska: Filibuster likely to sink Nebraska’s electoral votes winner-take-all bill | Omaha World Herald
There have been at least 10 unsuccessful attempts at overturning Nebraska’s unique system of awarding its Electoral College votes for president by congressional district. And, as a legislative filibuster against the latest attempt to return Nebraska to a winner-take-all system droned on Wednesday morning, it appeared more and more likely that 2014 would be the latest failed effort. “It’s ‘good night Irene’ for this bill. There will not be a vote on it,” said State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha. Chambers, a registered independent, has pledged an all-out filibuster against Legislative Bill 382, which has sparked a partisan political debate about how best to gain presidential campaign attention for a small state like Nebraska. The bill would have the state join the 48 states that award all electoral votes to the presidential candidate who gains the most votes statewide. Right now, Nebraska and Maine are the only states that award their electoral votes to the top vote-getter in each congressional district.
Nebraska: Voter ID plan by Secretary of State Gale would apply to narrow group of citizens | Omaha.com
Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale thinks he has a less expensive, less intrusive “Nebraska” solution to the politically charged issue of requiring voters to present identification before casting a ballot. But it was hard to find anyone who liked his compromise plan on Wednesday. Gale said he plans to seek legislation that will require only a portion of registered voters — about 75,000 — to present ID before voting. Everyone else, about 94 percent of the 1.2 million registered voters in Nebraska, would not have to present ID. The secretary of state said his “voter integrity” proposal resolves his concerns about previous voter ID legislation, which he felt would cost too much money to implement and would place a burden on too many people.
Nebraskans want some kind of voter ID law, but a senator’s second attempt to bring such a bill misses the mark, according to Secretary of State John Gale. Larry Dix, executive director of the Nebraska Association of County Officials, read Gale’s statement during Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on Legislative Bill 381, Thursday, March 7. The bill, introduced by Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, would require Nebraskans to show a photo ID when voting. Janssen, a candidate in the 2014 governor’s race, introduced a similar bill last year, which failed. Former senator Brenda Council of Omaha said LB381 might be unconstitutional. Amy Miller, ACLU Nebraska legal director, and Adam Morfeld, the Nebraskans for Civic Reform executive director, agreed. Morfeld said his group of 27 Nebraska organizations would sue the state if the bill passes.
Opponents of a voter identification bill threatened a lawsuit Thursday if Nebraska lawmakers approve it, while supporters cast the measure as a preventive effort to protect against voter fraud. The issue triggered a heated debate during a legislative hearing, where opponents outnumbered supporters by a nearly 5-to-1 margin. Some compared the bill to poll taxes levied in the post-Civil War South to keep minorities from voting. The head of a Nebraska taxpayers’ group argued that any person who was “too lazy” to request a free state-issued ID probably wouldn’t vote on Election Day. Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, a Republican candidate for governor, introduced the bill. He’s tried similar measures several times, with last year’s attempt making it to the floor after supporters failed to overcome an eight-hour filibuster. Voter ID, an issue throughout the nation’s statehouses, is trumpeted by Republicans as a way to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats call it a political ploy to suppress voters who may not have proper identification, particularly groups that typically vote Democratic. No cases of voter fraud have been reported in Nebraska. The bill would entitle voters without a driver’s license to a free, state-issued identification card. The Department of Motor Vehicles would give free cards to voters who are indigent, and voters without IDs would still be allowed to cast provisional ballots.
Nebraska: Voter ID Legislation Introduced; NCR and the Nebraska Voting Rights Coalition Will Work to Defeat it Once Again | Nebraska City News-Press
State Senator Charlie Janssen introduced LB381 today, a bill that would require citizens to present government-issued photo-identification to vote. The only type of fraud this bill protects against is voter impersonation— the rarest form of voter fraud in the nation. The Nebraska Deputy Secretary of State testified on Senator Janssen’s Voter ID bill last session and admitted that voter impersonation is not an issue for Nebraska. The bill, if passed, would affect the voting rights or primarily students, seniors, low-income, and rural Nebraskans.
State senators have filibustered to death a bill that would have required voters to show government-issued photographic ID at their polling places.
State senators debated the bill, LB239, on March 27 and March 28. A motion for cloture, or ending debate, Wednesday failed by three votes on a vote of 30-16. LB239 was introduced by Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont and prioritized by Sen. Ken Schilz of Ogallala. The bill, which was first debated Feb. 27, would require voters to present a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. With an amendment introduced by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, voters who lacked the needed ID would be mailed an acknowledgement of registration card to use as identification when voting.
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.”
A measure that would require Nebraska voters to show government-issued identification at the polls drew fierce criticism Tuesday from opponents in the Legislature, with one lawmaker calling it a “Jim Crow light” bill. Lawmakers argued over the measure into the evening, but were not expected to reach a vote until Wednesday. The bill’s sponsor, Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen, told lawmakers that his bill seeks to fight the threat of voter fraud. Critics say the problem doesn’t exist and have mounted a filibuster on the bill to delay a vote. Janssen, a former U.S. Navy rescue swimmer, said he cast his first ballot as an absentee voter from a combat zone in the Persian Gulf. “I took great pride in casting that ballot, and I’d hate to think it was canceled out by somebody voting illegally,” he said. Opponents say the bill disproportionately affects poor and young voters. Between 50,000 and 100,000 Nebraskans do not have identification that would qualify as valid for voting purposes, according to the group Nebraskans for Civic Reform.
Nebraska’s proposed voter ID bill, LB 239, has been removed from the legislature’s agenda, according to Associated Press reports Thursday evening.
The bill would have required voters to present a valid, current photo ID, or qualify for one of several exceptions, before receiving a ballot on election day. It had been introduced last session by State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont and carried over to the session that began this month. The bill was one of dozens around the country that have recently been introduced or enacted, mostly by Republican controlled state legislatures.
Nebraska: Supporters, opponents debate effectiveness of Nebraska voter ID law proposal | Daily Nebraskan
State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, Neb., has found himself yet again in the middle of a passionate legislative battle. Last year, it was over an immigration bill, one of the most controversial of that legislative session. This time around, political conflict is brewing over his voter ID bill, a requirement that Nebraska voters present official identification, most often a photo ID such as a driver’s license, before they mark the ballot.
As lawmakers prepare to a debate a measure to require voters to show some sort of identification before casting ballots, Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen says he has amended the bill to make it less onerous to opponents. “This is much ado about nothing,” Janssen said before dozens of opponents gathered Wednesday in the Rotunda to assail the measure. And they begged to differ with his “much ado” characterization.
Wednesday was the first session of the 2012 Nebraska Legislature and already there is heavy debate. LB 239 would require voters to show an identification before casting a ballot in an election. Some groups in Omaha think this bill will make it difficult for youth, elderly, minority and the poor to vote.
Bubba McCrimon has been voting for more than 30 years and he has never had to show his ID. He is against this proposed bill. “To say it’s racism is harsh, to say it’s targeted its harsh, to say it’s going to take away lot of opportunities that is easy to say,” McCrimon said. He and others at a news conference this morning want to stop this bill from ever becoming a law.