‘No voter left behind’: Senators hear thoughts on how Nebraska should implement voter ID

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A hearing on Nebraska’s voter ID bill took place Wednesday afternoon in front of the Government, Military and Veteran Affairs Committee.

Chairman Tom Brewer led the hearing, taking about an hour’s worth of testimony from each side.

The bill, introduced by State Sen. Julie Slama, comes after a constitutional amendment passed in November that requires photo voter ID in Nebraska.

“Nebraskans have spoken,” Slama said. “It’s now our responsibility as legislators to ensure that only the votes of eligible votes are counted and to protect public confidence in the integrity and legitimacy of our representative government.”

The bill defines a valid voter ID as a current document, such as a driver’s license, that shows the voter’s name as listed on their voter registration record and includes a photo or digital image of the voter.

SEE ALSO: Proposed bills would add further requirements to Nebraska’s new voter ID law

Opponents say this will stop many from being able to vote in Nebraska, including 19,000 Nebraskans without a state-issued ID.

“LB 535 clearly impedes voting for thousands of Nebraska citizens,” Jeff Schlichting said. “They will face the hindrance of finding transportation to a government office during business hours in order to obtain this photo ID.

Even supporters of the bill called for adjustments at the hearing.

Hall County Election Commissioner Tracy Overstreet asked for other documents like political subdivision IDs and school IDs to be valid.

“Even allowing the state or county to have a mobile unit to issue IDs for voting purposes or consider other exemptions that will fit within the law,” Overstreet said. “I ask for you to support LB 535 with added flexibility so that there is no voter left behind.”

But one supporter expressed concern over the hearing happening so soon after the bill was amended just a day or so earlier.

“This public hearing was supposed to be for us to share with you our feelings about the bill,” Danna Seevers said. “Now the bill is completely different. It’s been completely amended. I personally think this hearing is a mistake.”

No matter the side, most brought up the point that they want legislators to take their time with this bill.

The words left ringing in the microphone: No voter left behind.

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