LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — A coalition of voting rights supporters gathered at the stairs of the Nebraska State Capitol preaching the same message, “Decline to sign.”
Decline To Sign Nebraska is advocating for the people of Nebraska to not sign a petition created by politicians that would require voters to present a government-issued ID to cast a ballot.
“I am a student of the Jim Crow era and I am a veteran of the Civil Rights era, I’ve seen this déjà vu over and over again,” said Preston Love Jr. of Black Votes Matter. “Trying to figure out ways to restrict voting for people, and it turns out to be in many cases people of color and people of low means.”
The organizations, which include Black Votes Matter, Civic Nebraska, League of Women Voters of Nebraska, and Nebraska Poor People’s Campaign, are worried that seniors and those who don’t have the means to physically get a government-issued ID will lose their constitutional right.
“The harder it is for people to vote, the less likely they are to vote. Really what we need to be focused on is doing things that encourage people to participate in our democracy,” Civic Nebraska Voting Rights Field Director Brad Christian-Sallis said. “Any policy that is going to do the reverse of that and kind of push people away from the process of voting is what we want to try and avoid.”
“The idea of having ID seems so simple and seems to not be a problem – but it is,” Love Jr. said.
They also have questions about how this amendment would impact military overseas voting and mail-in votes.
They say the amendment is not only unjust but unnecessary as well.
“There is no evidence of voter fraud in Nebraska,” League of Women Voters of Nebraska’s Mary Lee Moulton said. “Even supporters of this petition acknowledge this fact.”
Love Jr. says there should be no revision to the State Constitution.
“That cannot happen without it being voted in by the people, and that cannot happen without a petition with a certain number of signatures to be signed,” he said. “So, we’re making sure people hear our voice, and our voice says decline to sign the petition, which would stop the process in the first place.”
Sen. Mike Groene of the 42nd District is in support of the petition. He sent 3 News Now the following statement:
"I support Voter ID to put barriers in place to stop ballot harvesting. With the passage of a constitutional amendment Voter ID laws could require a copy of identification to accompany each mail-in ballot making it harder for political operatives to fill out ballots for those who have not themselves requested a mail-in ballot or have moved from a district or are deceased but have not been removed from the voter rolls...
It would also hinder fraud by precinct workers or election officials who have ill intent from entering fraudulent ballots...
Under today's election laws: once a ballot is dropped in a precinct box or entered on a voter machine, there is absolutely no way to prove fraud."
Sen. Julie Slama, a spokeswoman for Citizens for Voter ID, sent 3 News Now the following statement:
"Today's so-called "Decline to Sign" press conference, hosted by the same special interest groups that blocked popular Voter ID efforts in the Legislature, once again pushed the same tired lies. The facts are clear: Voter ID has been successfully implemented in three dozen states and is overwhelmingly by supported by Nebraskans. Citizens for Voter ID looks forward to gathering the signatures necessary to add a Voter ID constitutional amendment to the November 2022 ballot for Nebraska voters to decide. If you would like to sign the petition, donate, or volunteer for Citizens for Voter ID, please visit our website, www.citizensforvoterid.com."