The sponsor of the voter photo identification bill fires back at his critics even as he counts noses as the legislature heads toward debate on the issue.
Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont rejects assertions by critics that his bill violates the constitution and places an undue burden on counties. Janssen sponsors LB 239, which would require Nebraska voters to display a government-issues photographic identification to cast a ballot.
The bill has sparked controversy at the Capitol as opponents of the bill have held two news conferences and rallies against it. Adam Morfeld with Nebraskans for Civic Reform, which organized the news conferences, stated the coalition opposes the measure for four reasons: that voter impersonation isn’t a problem in Nebraska, that the bill would prove costly to counties, that the bill contains no provision for voter education and that it would disproportionately impact the poor, youth, senior citizens, the disabled and minorities.
Janssen asserts Nebraska voter identification requirements are so lax it’s hard to get a handle on the depth of voter fraud here, though he points to assertions of voter fraud in the Omaha mayoral recall election last year. Janssen points out that the United States Supreme Court upheld a similar law in Indiana, which he says is more stringent than his proposal. And Janssen estimates his bill would cost $15,000 per election spread over 93 counties, which he insists is a small price to pay for election integrity.
The biggest obstacle Janssen faces will be an expected filibuster when the bill comes to the Unicameral floor for debate. Janssen will need to garner 33 votes to cut off debate and force a vote.
“You’ve got small, vocal minorities telling people all these misgivings and, I hate to say it, lies about this bill. It’s going to be tough,” Janssen tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Janssen has launched a website to answer his critics: stopvotefraud.net.
The bill could reach the floor before the week is out.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]