A Nebraska bill that would have required voters to show a government ID before being allowed to vote died yesterday in the state’s unicameral legislature. Supporters of the ALEC-inspired ID bill failed to generate enough votes to end a filibuster by opponents. According to Nebraskans for Civic Reform, the Nebraska DMV found that up to 130,000 Nebraskans lack a valid ID.
Nebraska followed a familiar national trend in which supporters of stricter voting rules attempt to make it more difficult for its citizens to vote while ignoring the lack of any evidence of voter fraud in their state and the opposition of local election officials. John Gale, Nebraska’s Republican Secretary of State, stated that Nebraska has an aggressive Voter Fraud Unit but that “very few” people in the state actually ever attempt to commit voter fraud. Larry Dix, executive director of the Nebraska Association of County Officials opposed the bill and called it “a poor solution looking for a problem that certainly does not rise to the level where we should expend property tax dollars.”
This voting rights victory should give hope to those who oppose suppression tactics aimed at making voting more difficult for minorities, low-income Americans, disabled citizens, and college students. Nebraska can be added to the list of states in which the voting rights community won victories in legislatures dominated by supporters of voter suppression legislation.
For example, Ohioans shelved a provision that would have allowed poll workers to not direct voters to their correct precinct and that reduced early and absentee voting. The measure did not go into effect and will now face a statewide referendum in November. In Maine, citizens successfully executed a “people’s veto” by passing a ballot initiative that repealed the legislature’s elimination of same-day registration in the state. The death of voter ID in Nebraska and other states demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of fighting back against voter suppression.
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