Nebraska GOP claims voter ID initiative will restore people’s faith in elections
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Members of the Nebraska GOP held a press conference Wednesday to discuss the voter ID initiative.
Todd Watson, the political director of NEGOP, said there is a lot of talk around the country about election security and said the Nebraska Republican Party is not deaf to it.
“We need to have the tough conversations,” he said. “The citizens need to have confidence that their elections are secure.”
Watson said election integrity is a core concern of the Republican party.
“We have 162 central committee members and they’ve signed on to talking about making our elections secure by making it hard to cheat,” he said. “We are not gonna sit idly by and pretend this isn’t an issue in this state. We’re going to talk about it, because we need secure elections.”
Back in February, Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen rejected claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Evnen also said that voter registration lists are updated almost daily and the state spent $7 million in 2019 to update its ballot counting system.
When asked why voter ID would be needed despite little to no evidence of widespread voter fraud, Watson said the issue is more about voters questioning election integrity
Watson said he also wants to restore their trust in the process.
He says state senators are going to be meeting to work out what a voter ID will look like and how it will be implemented.
Officials anticipate it won’t require a new ID just for voting but rather an ID such as a driver’s license.
Opponents say it’s unnecessary and could prevent eligible voters from casting a ballot, particularly people of color, those with disabilities and people in rural areas.
Precious McKesson, executive director for the Nebraska Democratic Party, said the initiative is a form of voter suppression.
“It’s sad to see that so many people feel we should have to show our IDs at the polls when our secretary of State has stated we have safe elections here in Nebraska,” she said.
McKesson said even the cost of an ID could be enough to prevent someone from voting now.
“IDs in Nebraska are not cheap,” she said. “Our IDs can run you up to $30, so what is the state gonna do now? What is Jim Pillen going to do to help compensate so people can still get to the polls and be able to vote?”
It’s also unclear how voting by mail will work if an ID is required to vote, and McKesson said she still has a lot of questions about the whole process.
“I don’t think they sat down and thought about that when they rung this bill up,” she said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska said it will be following the process as voter ID becomes law.
Jane Seu, an attorney with ACLU, said they plan to engage and do everything they can to protect voting rights.
“Our elections are already secure without the need for Voter ID,” Seu said. “It can keep thousands of voters from voting just because of the barriers of getting an ID to vote.”