Erdman’s voter ID bills would get rid of mail-in ballots in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Three voter ID bills gathered a crowd at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Sen. Steve Erdman introduced two of the bills.

They would effectively end mail-in ballots in Nebraska, except for members of the military and nursing home residents.

“It seems to me that the best time to solve an issue is before it becomes a problem,” Erdman said. “The issue that we have to deal with is: How do we make sure our votes are secure? They should not be messed with, and this is the way to do that.”

But those in opposition said mail-in ballots are essential for many Nebraskans.

“Mandating in-person voting except for select individuals is voter suppression,” said Sheri St. Clair of the League of Women Voters of Nebraska. “It’s unrealistic to expect all eligible voters to be able to go in person on any given day.”

Another testifier concurred.

“With weather conditions, family and work obligations, this just simply is not practical or fair to candidates or the voters,” said Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse.

One of Erdman’s bills also would require ballots to be counted on election day in the polling place where the votes were cast.

“Regarding hand-counting at the precinct level, states have already been investigating: How do we count at the precinct level, efficiently and accurately?” said Cindy Miller, a resident of Washington County. “I’m glad that you don’t want anybody to be disenfranchised. What about the millions of people who feel disenfranchised because of stolen elections? What about them?”

Those in opposition said this simply isn’t possible with the technology at polling places, which could make the bill costly.

“Purchasing precinct counters would cost about $18.5 million statewide if there were two machines per precinct,” said Hall County Election Commissioner Tracy Overstreet. “This is actually physically impossible to do, whether it’s counted by machine or by hand.”

Sen. Jen Day’s voter ID bill, with much fewer restrictions, was also discussed Wednesday.

It would allow for many types of ID that aren’t accepted in other bills, going so far as to include expired IDs.

“If the goal of voter ID is to verify a person’s identity, election workers can do that successfully even while using an expired ID,” Day said.

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