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Voter ID laws in spotlight in Secretary of State race

Posted at 4:52 PM, Oct 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-22 17:52:23-04

The two candidates for Secretary of State take two different approaches to the job and see the issue of voter ID very differently. 

Secretary of State candidate Spencer Danner says if elected, his primary goal is to maximize voter participation. 

"My opponent believes voting is a privilege, I believe voting is a right," says Danner.

His Republican opponent Bob Evnen, takes a different approach. 

"It's not the first job of the secretary of state to go beg you to vote. It's the first duty of the secretary of state as the chief election officer to make sure elections are fair and secure, so when you cast your ballot, your vote counts,” says Evnen. 

The two men are running to succeed John Gale, who will retire in January after serving 18 years in a job that includes the role of chief election officer in the state. 

Evnen's platform is securing the ballot box and ensuring nobody illegally votes in Nebraska. Danner, a Democrat, wants to increase turnout on election day, that's why he's against a law that forces voters to show an ID in order to vote. 

"It's the most minimal voting fraud issue in this country. Voter identification laws, by far, effect senior citizens more than any voting population in our state and they are the second biggest demographic.They also affect millennials," says Danner. 

Evnen, who is endorsed by Mayor Jean Stothert and Governor Pete Ricketts, says there's no way of knowing if people are already committing voter impersonation, but wants a law to ensure it doesn't happen. 

"Once your election systems are corrupted, you can't fix them again, we have examples of that all over the country, so the time to pay attention to voter security is before we have a problem, not afterwards," says Evnen. 
34 states already have laws in place that either recommend or require voters to show ID before voting. Several voter ID bills have been brought to the state legislature recently, but have so far, failed to reach the required 33 votes to overcome a filibuster.

While the new candidates don't agree on many issues, both say they want Nebraska to stick with paper ballots.