A legislative committee is weighing claims of voter fraud against those of voter suppression as it considers a bill that would require photo identification to vote in Nebraska.
Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont sponsors LB 381, which would require that a Nebraskan would have to display photographic identification to cast a vote. Those without official photo IDs would be issued one by the state. There are a projected 26,000 Nebraskans without some form of photo identification.
Janssen has promoted the issue before, touting it as a measure to insure the integrity of voting in the state.
Doug Kagan with Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom told the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee that Nebraska should have zero tolerance for voter fraud.
“The importance of preventing illegal voting outweighs vague and undocumented cases of voter suppression,” Kagan testified during the committee’s public hearing at the Capitol.
Kagan also rejected a contention often made by critics, that there isn’t a problem here.
“This bill is not a solution in search of a problem,” Kagan stated. “It is preventative vaccination against illegal voting.”
But, Adam Morfeld with Nebraskans for Civic Reform struck a theme often used by opponents, insisting there is no evidence of voter fraud in Nebraska.
“The problem here with requiring a photo identification for purposes of voting is there is no identifiable voter impersonation fraud in the state of Nebraska,” Morfeld told committee members.
Former State Senator Lowen Kruse of Omaha returned to the Capitol to voice his opposition.
“I oppose this bill for one simple reason. It will reduce the number of people who vote in Nebraska; period, guaranteed.”
LB 381 comes with a hefty price tag. The Legislative Fiscal Analyst estimates that issuing a photo ID to every Nebraska resident without one would cost a maximum of $275,397 to the state General Fund and a total of $342,576 to the Department of Motor Vehicles Cash Fund.
Sen. Janssen said the bill is unlikely to cost that much, because it is unlikely at every Nebraskan without a photo ID will apply to receive one.