The legislative proposal to require photo IDs for voters in Nebraska ran into a buzz saw of opposition Tuesday during floor debate that signaled the beginning of a filibuster that will resume Wednesday. The bill (LB111) sponsored by Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill would require voters to show a government-issued photo ID, but provides for acquisition of a state card at no cost for voters who may not have a photo ID. Opponents said there is no evidence of voter fraud to suggest that the new requirement is needed and that the result would be an impediment to voting that would tend to depress, if not actively suppress, voter turnout. Larson said the requirement is needed to “protect the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.”
Two years ago, Congress came within a single Republican vote in the Senate of following the Supreme Court’s advice to require broad disclosure of campaign finance donors. The justices wanted voters to be able to decide for themselves “whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.” The court advised such disclosure in its otherwise disastrous Citizens United decision in 2010, which loosed a new wave of unlimited spending on political campaigns. The decision’s anticorruption prescription has grown even more compelling as hundreds of millions of dollars in disguise have flooded the 2012 campaigns — a great deal of it washed through organizations that are set up for the particular purpose of hiding the names of the writers of enormous checks. The ability to follow the money has never been this important since the bagman days of the Watergate scandal. But when the Democratic Senate majority made a fresh attempt to enact a disclosure bill on Monday, the measure was immediately filibustered to death by Republicans, like other versions.
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.