A proposed constitutional amendment requiring Nebraska voters to show photo identification before they cast a vote won't be debated by the Legislature this year.
The measure (LR3CA) from Sen. Julie Slama of Sterling failed to obtain the five votes necessary from the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee to advance to the floor.
Slama, who sponsored the constitutional amendment in 2021, called it a "commonsense" approach supported by a majority of Nebraskans.
LR3CA had the support of Secretary of State Bob Evnen, who campaigned on enacting a voter ID law, and other conservative lawmakers in the officially nonpartisan Legislature, who said it would bring Nebraska in line with 35 other states that have similar provisions in their law.
But opponents labeled it as a solution in search of a problem, saying there was no evidence of voter impersonation in Nebraska.
They also said requiring voters to obtain a photo ID card would create additional barriers for Nebraskans who are low income, older, non-white or live with disabilities before they could exercise a constitutional right to vote.
The committee took no action on LR3CA last year after its Feb. 17, 2021, hearing.
Last summer, Slama launched a petition drive alongside Nebraska Republican Party National Committeewoman Lydia Brasch and former Douglas County GOP Chairwoman Nancy McCabe to put the issue directly before voters this fall.
Citizens for Voter ID, the ballot committee leading the effort, will need an estimated 124,000 registered voters in Nebraska to sign the petition, including 5% of voters in 38 of the state’s 93 counties, to qualify for the general election ballot.
A successful ballot initiative would authorize the Legislature to enact a voter ID law and would allow senators to craft a bill determining what constitutes a valid photo identification.
Voting rights groups formed their own committee, Decline to Sign Nebraska, to oppose the petition drive, painting it as an effort “based on a false narrative” that voter fraud exists.
Decline to Sign Nebraska has also argued providing all voters with a state-issued ID would cost $3 million initially, and would require an annual cost of $1 million moving forward.
On Wednesday, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee seemingly put the matter into the hands of the ballot committee and Nebraska voters.
Voting in support of LR3CA were Sens. Tom Brewer of Gordon, Steve Halloran of Hastings, John Lowe of Kearney and Rita Sanders of Bellevue.
Opposing the measure were Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen and Omaha Sens. John McCollister and Megan Hunt. Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue was absent but has opposed voter ID legislation in the past.
It marks the ninth time in 10 years a voter ID proposal has failed to get out of committee or been defeated by a filibuster.
Slama said Wednesday the petition drive is ahead of schedule in gathering signatures before the deadline for submitting names this summer.
"I'm confident voter ID will be on the ballot for Nebraska voters in November 2022," Slama said in a text message.
The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee advanced two bills sponsored by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne in the 2021 session to a full floor debate.
A bill (LB158) restoring voting rights to felons upon the completion of their sentence, eliminating a two-year waiting period, advanced with only Lowe voting against.
The committee unanimously supported an amended bill (LB29) recognizing Juneteenth as a state holiday.
Wayne's bill would have replaced Arbor Day, a state holiday in Nebraska celebrated in late April, with Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated annually on June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of slaves at the end of the Civil War.
With Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday in 2021 upon President Joe Biden signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, Wayne's bill was amended to reflect the state observing both holidays.
A look at how voter ID laws differ from state to state
According to the Alabama Secretary of State, voters need one of the following: Valid Driver's License, valid non-driver ID, valid Alabama photo voter ID, valid state issued ID (Alabama or any other state), valid federal issued ID, valid US passport, valid employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County Government, Municipality, Board, Authority, or other entity of this state, Valid student or employee ID from a college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools), valid military ID, valid tribal ID.
According to Alaska Division of Elections, voters need the following: Identification such as: Voter ID card, driver’s license, state ID, military ID, passport, hunting or fishing license or other current or valid photo ID. If you do not have the one of the identifications listed above, you may present a current utility bill or paycheck, government check or bank statement or other government issued document.
Arizona requires either photo identification or two of the following: Utility bill of the elector that is dated within 90 days of the date of the election. A utility bill may be for electric, gas, water, solid waste, sewer, telephone, cellular phone, or cable television, Bank or credit union statement that is dated within 90 days of the date of the election, valid Arizona Vehicle Registration, Indian census card, property tax statement of the elector's residence, tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification, Arizona vehicle insurance card, recorder's certificate, valid United States federal, state, or local government-issued identification, including a voter registration card issued by the County Recorder, any mailing to the elector marked “Official Election Material.”
In Arkansas, you must provide photo identification in the form of one of the following: a driver’s license, a photo identification card, a concealed carry handgun permit, a U.S. Passport, a student ID or employee badge from an accredited postsecondary institution, a military ID, a voter verification card. or a public assistance ID that shows a photo of the cardholder.
According to the California Secretary of State, "In most cases, a California voter is not required to show identification to a polling place worker before casting a ballot. However, if you are voting for the first time after registering to vote by mail and did not provide your driver license number, California identification number or the last four digits of your social security number on your registration form, you may be asked to show a form of identification when you go to the polls."
Most of Colorado votes by mail, but if voters choose to vote in-person, they must provide identification. A Colorado driver's license or Colorado ID are both acceptable.
According to the Connecticut Secretary of State, "When you arrive at the polling place the poll worker will request that you present ID, but if you do not have any then in most cases, you may sign an affidavit in lieu of presenting ID. There are several options for identification and they do not need to be a driver's license or have a photo."
Delaware doesn't currently have a photo identification law. You will be asked to show identification at the polling place, but if your name is on the poll list and you do not have identification with you, you may sign an affidavit confirming your identity.
Florida requires voters to provide a valid photo ID with signature at the polls. Any one of the following photo IDs will be accepted: Florida driver’s license, Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, United States passport, debit or credit card, military identification, student identification, retirement center identification, neighborhood association identification, public assistance identification, veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm issued pursuant to s. 790.06, employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the Federal Government, the state, a county, or a municipality.
Georgia law requires residents to show photo identification when voting in person. Any of the following forms of identification are acceptable: Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free ID Card issued by your county registrar's office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS), A Georgia Driver's License, even if expired, valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state, valid U.S. passport ID, valid U.S. military photo ID, Valid tribal photo ID.
Polling places in Hawaii ask for identification, but a photo is not required. If the voter has no identification, the voter can use their address and date of birth for verification.
In Idaho, a registered voter must either present a photo ID or sign a Personal Identification Affidavit.
If you're already registered to vote in Illinois, you don't need to present any identification at the polls. If you registered by mail without including a driver's license number or Social Security number, or if you are registering to vote in person, then you will be asked for identification with a current address on it.
A photo ID is required when voting in Indiana. In most cases, an Indiana driver license, Indiana photo ID card, military ID or U.S. passport is sufficient.
According to the Iowa Secretary of State, "Iowa voters are required to show an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID or veteran’s ID, tribal ID/document or Iowa voter ID card at the polls before they vote. A voter without one of the listed forms of ID may have the voter’s identity attested to by another registered voter in the precinct or may prove identity and residence using Election Day Registration documents."
Photo identification is required to vote in Kansas and can include one of the following: Driver's License, nondriver ID card, concealed Carry Handgun License, U.S. Passport, government employee ID, U.S. Military ID, Kansas College ID, Government Public Assistance ID or Indian Tribe ID.
According to the State Board of Elections of Kentucky, "All voters must produce identification or be known by a precinct officer prior to voting. Acceptable types of ID are personal acquaintance of precinct officer, driver’s license, Social Security card, county issued identification card approved in writing by the State Board of Elections, U.S. government-issued identification card, Kentucky state government-issued identification card with picture, credit card, or another form of ID containing both picture and signature."
When voting at the Louisiana polls, officials request one of the following: A driver's license, a Louisiana Special ID, LA Wallet digital driver's license or some other generally recognized picture ID that contains your name and signature. If you do not have any of these, you may still cast your vote by signature on a voter affidavit.
In Maine, no documents are required to be shown to vote.
In Maryland, you don't usually need to present any photo identification to vote unless one of the following occurs: You registered by mail and have not previously met the identification requirements. Someone in the polling place challenges your identity. You are registering to vote during early voting or changing your address during early voting.
Massachusetts requires no identification to vote, but there are some exceptions. According to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, "You may be asked to show identification when you check-in at your polling place for any of the following reasons: You are voting for the first time in Massachusetts in a federal election, you are an inactive voter, you are casting a provisional or challenged ballot or the poll worker has a reasonable suspicion that leads them to request identification."
According to the Michigan Secretary of State, "Michigan does have a voter identification requirement at the polls. Voters are asked to present an acceptable photo ID such as a Michigan driver's license or identification card. Please note that voters who do not have an acceptable form of ID or failed to bring it with them to the polls still can vote. They simply sign a brief affidavit stating that they're not in possession of a photo ID."
In Minnesota, if your voter registration is current and active, you do not need to bring identification. If you need to register or update your registration, or you have not voted in four years or more, you will need to show proof of residence before you vote.
Mississippi residents voting at the polls are required to show a photo ID card. Individuals voting in person by absentee ballot in person in the Circuit Clerk's office are also required to show a photo ID.
Voters going to the polls in Missouri do need to present identification. A Missouri Driver's License or Nondriver License are acceptable, as are the other following options: A U.S. Passport, or military ID or a secondary form of identification, such as a paycheck or bank statement.
When voting at the polls in Montana, a current photo ID showing the elector’s name; or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, voter registration confirmation, government check or other government document showing the elector’s current name and current address must be presented.
The only time voters are asked for their ID to vote in Nebraska is if they were a first time Nebraska registrant who mailed in their registration application and didn’t provide ID at that time.
According to the Nevada Secretary of State, "If a person’s name appears in the election board register or if the person provides an affirmation pursuant to statute, the person is entitled to vote and must sign his or her name in the election board register at the polling place to vote. The signature must be compared with the signature or a facsimile on the person’s original application to register to vote or one of the following forms of identification: (a) The card issued to the voter at the time he or she registered to vote; (b) A driver’s license; (c) An identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles; (d) A military identification card; or (e) Any other form of identification issued by a governmental agency with the voter’s signature and physical description or picture."
New Hampshire voters are asked to provide a photo ID. Any voter who do not present an approved photo ID, or have their identity verified by an election official, will be permitted to vote after executing a challenged voter affidavit.
No documents are required to vote in New Jersey unless they were not provided when the voter registered.
According to the New Mexico Secretary of State, "A physical form of identification is only required for first-time New Mexico voters who registered by mail and did not include identification with their voter registration application form. Otherwise, you will be asked to provide a verbal or written statement of identification including your name, year of birth, and registered address."
No documents are required to vote in New York unless they were not included when the voter registered.
Beginning in 2020, North Carolina voters will be asked to provide photo identification when voting in-person or absentee-by-mail.
North Dakota voters must bring a valid photo ID such as one of the following: a driver’s license, nondriver’s identification card, Tribal government issued identification or a long term care identification certificate (provided by North Dakota facility).
According to the Ohio Secretary of State, "Ohio law requires that every voter, upon appearing at the polling place to vote on Election Day, must announce his or her full name and current address and provide proof of identity."
Oklahoma's proof of identity law requires every voter who votes in person at the precinct polling place or during early voting at the County Election Board to show proof of identity before receiving a ballot.
Residents in Oregon mostly vote by mail, and require no identification.
In Pennsylvania, voters do not need to show photo identification at the polling place.
According to the Rhode Island Board of Elections, "Rhode Island state law requires all voters to present valid photo identification prior to voting at the polls in all elections. Voters will need to present one of the following forms of photo ID: Rhode Island driver's license or permit, voter ID card, U.S. Passport, ID issued by a U.S. educational institution, U.S. military ID
In South Carolina, voters are required to present some form of government-issued photo ID.
According to the South Dakota Secretary of State, "All voters who appear at a polling place must show proof of identification. Approved forms of photo identification include: South Dakota driver's license or nondriver ID card, U.S. government photo ID (passport is acceptable), U.S. Armed Forces ID, current student photo identification card from a South Dakota high school or South Dakota accredited institution of higher education or a Tribal photo ID."
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, "Registered voters in Tennessee must show government-issued photo identification in order to cast a ballot at the polls. Acceptable forms of ID include: Tennessee drivers license with your photo, United States Passport, photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government, United States Military photo ID or a Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo."
Texas voters must present one of the following when going to the polls: Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID: Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS, Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS, Texas Handgun License issued by DPS, United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph, United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph or a United States Passport (book or card).
Those voting in Utah must provide one of the following: A currently valid ID card issued by a local government within the state; A currently valid ID card issued by an employer; A currently valid ID card issued by a college, university, technical school or professional school within the state; or. A current Utah vehicle registration.
Vermont doesn't require any identification to be presented upon voting unless it's the voter's first time.
Virginia law requires all voters to provide an acceptable form of photo identification at the polls, which can include one of the following: valid Virginia Driver’s License or Identification Card, valid Virginia DMV issued Veteran’s ID card, valid United States Passport, other government-issued photo identification cards, Tribal enrollment or other tribal ID issued by one of 11 tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia, valid college or university student photo identification card (must be from an institution of higher education located in Virginia), valid student ID issued by a public school or private school in Virginia displaying a photo, employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business.
In Washington, if you register by mail and do not have a Washington State driver's license, Washington State ID card, or a Social Security number, you will be required to provide one of the following items when you cast your ballot: Valid photo ID, valid tribal ID of a federally recognized Indian tribe in Washington State, copy of a current utility bill, current bank statement, copy of a current government check, copy of a current paycheck or a government document that shows both your name and address
Identification is required to vote in West Virginia, but doesn't have to be photo identification.
Wisconsin voters must show an acceptable photo ID when voting at the polls on Election Day or by absentee ballot, though there are some exceptions for absentee voters.
According to the Wyoming Secretary of State, "Wyoming does not require photo ID for the purpose of voting. However, if you registered by mail and are voting in a federal election for the first time, you must show photo ID or a document that has both your name and residence address."
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