With little time left, Nebraska voter ID bill clears second round of debate

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Over the past several months, senators have been deciding on the best flavor of voter ID for Nebraska.

But with just a few days left in the session, time is running out to pass voter ID this year.

Last November, the majority of Nebraskans voted to require photo ID at the polls, and it’s now been up to legislators to make that happen.

“We want to honor the will of the people, even if we personally disagree with voter ID,” said Sen. Danielle Conrad, “But we need to honor the will of the people as effectuated through that vote. We need to take lessons from the courts, we need to take lessons from our sister states, and we need to make sure we do not disenfranchise other eligible voters.”

During debate of LB 514, concerns were raised about exceptions for people who claim they can’t get an ID in time for the next election.

Sen. Julie Slama has been filibustering the latest version of the bill, criticizing it as fraud-friendly.

This version would allow a variety of photo ID to be presented at the polls, including passports and driver’s licenses, along with military, tribal and college IDs.

Residents at nursing homes and assisted living centers would also be able to use patient documents as long as they include a photo.

Slama called it an “abomination” and has vowed to fight on behalf of voters to stop its passing.

“It’s voter ID without the voter ID,” she said. “You have exceptions a mile wide to where anybody voting in person or through mail-in voting can have their vote counted even if they don’t present a voter identification. I’m not backing down; I’m fighting for the people on this one.”

Slama introduced her own voter ID bill earlier in the session, but ultimately, the Government and Military Affairs Committee put together this version of the bill with Secretary of State Bob Evnen.

Other opponents of voter ID such as Civic Nebraska say this is the least bad option for voters.

Heidi Uhing, the director of public policy, said any kind of voter ID would suppress Nebraskans’ right to vote in elections, which don’t have a history of fraud.

“A lot of states have passed voter ID laws over the years on this assumption that they would prevent voter fraud, but we know in Nebraska, we have no history of that here,” she said. “Our elections are very secure. They’ve been conducted very carefully. There something we should really be proud of as Nebraskans.”

Senators voted 42-3 to end debate on Tuesday, and the bill will now move on to its final reading.
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