Bills seek Nebraska voter ID, would nix most voting by mail

Jan 9, 2023, 11:40 PM | Updated: Jan 10, 2023, 2:10 pm
FILE - Nebraska state Sen. Steve Erdman, R-Bayard, speaks during debate in Lincoln, Neb., May 15, 2...

FILE - Nebraska state Sen. Steve Erdman, R-Bayard, speaks during debate in Lincoln, Neb., May 15, 2019. Bills introduced Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, in the Nebraska Legislature address a voter ID requirement passed in November by voters, but also add measures that critics say are designed to make it harder to vote. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Bills introduced Tuesday in the Nebraska Legislature address a voter ID requirement passed in November by voters, but also add measures that critics say are designed to make it harder to vote.

Two bills introduced by state Sen. Steve Erdman, of Bayard, go beyond simply requiring government-issued photo identification to be presented to vote. While the measures would make primary and general election days state holidays and would cancel some fees to acquire IDs, they also would largely eliminate voting by mail for all except those who could show an inability to go to the polls, such as registered military members, nursing home residents and those away at college. One of his bills would also require all ballots to be counted on Election Day.

Erdman said Tuesday the measures are meant to ensure election integrity. He repeated conspiracy theories circulated since the 2020 presidential election of ballot harvesting and voting machine tampering. Erdman said he doesn’t know if there has been widespread voting fraud.

“But the perception is — there is,” Erdman said. “And perception is reality.”

Nebraska has no history of widespread voter fraud, but supporters of the voter ID requirement have said the law is needed to prevent possible future problems — a sentiment Erdman echoed.

Similar measures have been approved in a number of Republican-controlled states nationwide, but Nebraska Republicans’ previous efforts to do so in the officially nonpartisan Legislature were unable to overcome opponents who said such voter ID laws are meant to discourage voter turnout by minorities and others who are less likely to have appropriate ID and tend to vote for Democrats.

When efforts in the Legislature failed in 2021, a petition effort — bankrolled by then-Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ mother — was launched to get the measure on last November’s ballot.

“This has consequences for everyone — but especially rural, disabled, low-income and senior Nebraskans,” said Sen. Megan Hunt, of Omaha, who has been a staunch critic of the voter ID efforts. Nebraska’s new voter ID requirement will cost millions in taxpayer dollars to implement and “does not make our elections more secure.”

The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will be watching what lawmakers offer this session as a way to implement the voter-passed ID measure, said Jane Seu, legal and policy counsel with ACLU Nebraska. The organization will actively oppose those by Erdman, which she said were “clear attempts at voter suppression.”

Erdman rejected those criticisms. He noted that his county sends mail-in ballot applications to everyone who’s registered to vote, and the last election’s turnout was still under 60%.

“I’m not saying we should discourage anyone from voting,” he said. “This is just a common-sense approach to prevent any fraud.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Rescue workers try to reach trapped residents in a collapsed building in Kahta, in Adiyaman provinc...
Associated Press

Live Updates | Turkey, Syria earthquake kills thousands

ADANA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of southeast Turkey and northern Syria early Monday. ___ India and South Korea are among nations sending rescue personnel and supplies after a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and northern Syria. India said it would send 100 members of its Natural Disaster […]
21 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Cong...
Associated Press

Biden aims to deliver reassurance in State of Union address

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is ready to offer a reassuring assessment of the nation’s condition rather than roll out flashy policy proposals as he delivers his second State of the Union address seeking to overcome pessimism in the country and concerns about his own leadership. His speech before a politically divided Congress comes […]
21 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Cong...
Associated Press

State of the Union? Congress doesn’t fully reflect diversity

WASHINGTON (AP) — When lawmakers gather for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, the Republican side of the aisle will look slightly different than it did a few years ago. Rather than row after row of white men in suits, the House Republican majority increasingly has added Black, Latino and female elected officials […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks after taking the oath of the Jan. 10, 2023, in L...
Associated Press

Arkansas Gov. Sanders to offer State of the Union rebuttal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, once a White House press secretary for President Donald Trump, is set to return to the national stage when she delivers the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Sanders, 40, is giving the speech Tuesday night less than a month […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: FEB 7, Kennedy imposes Cuba embargo

Today in History Today is Tuesday, Feb. 7, the 38th day of 2023. There are 333 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Feb. 7, 1964, the Beatles arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to begin their first American tour. On this date: In 1857, a French court acquitted […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Logos the New York Stock Exchange adorn trading posts, on the floor, Wednesday, March 16, 20...
Associated Press

Google, Apple, Amazon give investors reason to fret

Wall Street had its eyes Friday on big tech after some of the biggest companies in the world posted lackluster quarterly financial performances.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Bills seek Nebraska voter ID, would nix most voting by mail