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Voter ID petition drive begins in Nebraska

Posted at 6:31 PM, Aug 05, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Conservatives in the Nebraska Legislature have been seeking to pass a voter ID law in Nebraska for well over a decade, with attempts consistently failing in the Unicameral.

Now, the group Citizens for Voter ID are seeking to put the decision into the voters' hands.

Petitions began going out this week to put a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot that would require a photo ID to vote.

“I think it’s a reasonable, solid measure to secure our elections,” said State Senator Julie Slama, who’s a part of Citizens for Voter ID.

She introduced a voter ID bill this past year that is still stuck in committee.

“This is a measure that, when I introduced it in the legislature, it was the most popular bill that I have ever proposed,” said Slama.

She points to the popularity with a Monmouth poll from July, showing 80% of Americans support voters showing a photo ID card to vote.

“So we’re proud to be taking this issue to Nebraska’s second house,” said Slama.

But some have already pushed back including the ACLU and Civic Nebraska.

Steve Smith with Civic Nebraska, a group that aims to make elections easier to vote, says there are reasons that this isn’t already law.

“The bills have been pushed back and defeated in the legislature for a reason, it’s because they’re unpopular, because they’re unworkable, because they’re costly,” said Smith.

Smith and Slama both agree that Nebraska's elections are already conducted fairly and securely, but Smith says that shows that the requirement doesn’t improve our elections.

“Very important that we don’t just casually sign away our rights,” said Smith.

Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures show nine states have strict voter ID requirements and another nine with less restrictive requirements, allowing voters to use documents like utility bills to vote.

Others like Iowa recommend a photo ID, but allow voters to simply sign an affidavit instead.

It's unclear where Nebraska would fit in, as the legislature would implement the policy, including how it affects mail-in voting.

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