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.
Civic Nebraska, a civil rights group focusing on voting rights protections in the state, said in addition to costing the state millions of taxpayer dollars over time, LB1066 might be unconstitutional, because it would still impose some cost on voters to cast a ballot.
“Nebraska’s constitution makes it really tough to pass any type of voter identification laws, which basically make elections not free,” said John Cartier, Civic Nebraska’s director of voting rights.
Furthermore, Cartier said there was no evidence of voter impersonation fraud in Nebraska, and LB1066 would empower election commissioners with more power to decide who can vote based on how closely a person resembles their photo ID.