A bill that would allow ex-felons to vote without a two-year wait after their sentences are complete won approval from state senators Monday, but not by a lot.
It will now move to Gov. Pete Ricketts' desk for his signature.
The Legislature voted 27-13 on final reading, not enough for a 30-vote veto override if one comes.
The bill (LB75) came out of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on a 5-1 vote, but was questioned by committee Chairman John Murante.
Murante said he's concerned not only about the question of the bill's constitutionality, and who has the authority to restore civil rights, but also that certain felonies, such as fraud and in particular voter fraud, would make the restoration of those rights not in the state's best interest.
Other conservative states, including Texas and Nevada, have repealed their post-sentence voting bans.
A study by Nebraskans for Civic Reform, "Removing the Wait: Disenfranchisement in Nebraska," showed Nebraska is depriving more than 7,000 citizens who have completed their felony sentences of the right to vote.
The total number, including those in prison and jail, on parole or probation, is more than 17,500.
One of every 18 black Nebraskans — 5.6 percent — is deprived of the right to vote, compared with one of every 81 — 1.2 percent — total adults in the state.