A bill before the Unicameral would enable Nebraskans to register to vote online, 24-7.
Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale, who oversees the state’s elections, says he’d support the move onto the Internet and once the website is created, it would be a relatively quick, simple process for the user to get registered.
“You have to have a driver’s license and that driver’s license has to be a Nebraska license that’s identifiable through the Department of Motor Vehicles,” Gale says. “From that information, we can capture accurately the exact legal name, the driver’s license number, and the signature. It’s so critical that we have the signature for purposes of comparison when people go to vote.”
The bill, LB 661, is being sponsored by Senator Bob Krist of Omaha.
The legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee reviewed the bill last week. Adam Morfeld, the executive director of Nebraskans For Civic Reform, was among those who testified in favor of the change.
“One of the biggest things that’s a big surprise to people who call our office, asking about registration deadlines or where they need to vote or where they need to register, is the fact we don’t have online voter registration,” Morfeld says. “There are a lot of people who will message me and ask, ‘Where do I go register to vote online?’ and I tell them, ‘We don’t have that yet.'”
Sandra Stelling, the election commissioner for Jefferson County, says she would favor taking the process to a secure, online site.
“We’re moving forward,” Stelling says. “We do have the technology that will support this where five, seven years ago, I don’t think the technology was really there.”
The committee was also heard testimony on two other measures sponsored by Senator Krist. LB 662 would address potential voter fraud by eliminating certain forms of identification that are easier to alter or forge, like utility bills or bank statements.
Also, LB 663 would expand the number of counties that could conduct elections by mail, and add candidate vacancies and recall elections to the list of special elections that could be conducted by mail.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice