Boxes of signatures are displayed after a news conference hosted by Citizens for Voter ID at the Nebraska Capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska, on July 7, 2022. (Noah Riffe/Lincoln Journal Star via AP)
By Tom Ozimek. Media: The Epoch Times.
Nebraskans have approved a new voter photo identification requirement for future elections, handing a win to Republicans who for years have tried to get the election integrity measure passed in the state’s legislature but met with opposition.
Called Nebraska Initiative 432, the measure was on the ballot in the midterm election as a proposal to amend the state’s constitution to require valid photo identification to cast a legal vote.
Just over 65 percent of Nebraska voters backed the initiative, which also authorizes the state legislature to pass laws specifying the voter id requirements.
Going into Tuesday’s election, around two-thirds of states already required some form of identification to vote, though not all mandated a photo ID.
Nebraska was one of the states without a voter ID requirement, though Republicans had tried for years to get one passed. A voter ID law was first proposed in the Nebraska legislature in 2011 but, since then, was repeatedly blocked by opponents.
But this year, the group Citizens for Voter ID managed to get the measure on the ballot and put it directly to voters, collecting over 172,000 signatures from Nebraskans in all 93 counties.
“What’s clear to me, after working on this issue as a state lawmaker, is that Nebraskans want Voter ID, and special interests do not,” Nebraska state Sen. Julie Slama, a Republican, said in a statement on the webpage of Citizens for Voter ID.
Backers of Nebraska’s voter ID requirement see it as a security measure that reduces the likelihood of voter impersonation and boosts confidence in elections.
Slama told Nebraska Public Media at an election watch party on Tuesday that she was “thrilled” Nebraskans voted yes on the initiative.
“This is a common sense election security measure that I’m glad we passed,” she told the outlet.
Opponents see the voter ID measure as being expensive and having little substantive value since, they argue, there’s very little voter fraud and that the burdens such requirements place on voters undermine the right to vote.
“Voter ID is a costly solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist,” Civic Nebraska, a group that opposed the measure, said in a statement.
They argued that the voter ID requirement would put up barriers to voting and disproportionately “disenfranchise” certain groups of voters.
“We oppose measures to add additional barriers to the ballot for thousands of Nebraskans, including those who would be disproportionately affected—rural voters, low-income voters, senior citizens, and minority voters,” the group said.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who backed the measure, said on the eve of Election Day that requiring ID is “common sense” and does not impose onerous barriers to voting.
“Voter ID is something that will help people know that elections are secure,” Ricketts told the Nebraska Examiner. “An ID is not something that’s too high a bar for people to have.”
By contrast, ACLU Nebraska’s Jane Seu argued in an interview with the Nebraska Examiner that voter ID adds undue complications to voting.
Seu cited studies showing a 2–3 percentage point drop in turnout in states that started requiring a form of ID to vote.
Nebraskans for Free and Fair Elections, a group that opposed the measure, said in a release on Tuesday that it’s preparing to “begin the next phase of opposition to this new burden on voters” as lawmakers must now decide what forms of photo ID will constitute valid identification in order to cast a vote.
Nebraska’s voting-related measure was among more than 130 state proposals appearing on ballots, dealing with a range of contentious issues including taxes, drug policy, and abortion.