Secretary of State John Gale suggests the legislature study the issue of voter identification rather than move on the current voter photo ID bill.
Gale has suggested the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee consider authorizing an interim study of voter identification as well as the companion issues of voter registration and voter fraud.
Gale says LB 381, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, is very strict, while not covering the range of issues that should receive the legislature’s attention.
“I think the bill is solid, constitutionally,” Gale tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “I think it’s a very straightforward bill. I just don’t know that we need one as costly and as intensive as this one is when we haven’t had systematic fraud in Nebraska.”
Gale says a study could produce a bill that addresses the broad issues of potential vote fraud, tailored to Nebraska.
“I’m just not sure that we don’t want to study this a little bit more and come up with something that’s unique for Nebraska; that’s economical and efficient and, still, has a broad scope of preventing potential fraud,” Gale states.
Gale says that should LB 381 become law, it would be the strictest voter photo identification law in the nation, too strict to address something that doesn’t appear to be a problem in Nebraska.
“We’ve had some occasional, isolated incidences of fraud, but it’s not enough to maybe have as imposing a bill as Sen. Janssen has introduced,” Gales says.
Sen. Janssen’s LB 381 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.
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.
Janssen has 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.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.