Secretary of State John Gale backs legislation working its way through the Unicameral to require Nebraska voters to display photo identification to cast a ballot and to end the state practice of proportional distribution of its Electoral College votes.
Gale says other states have had success implementing the photo identification requirement.
“The states that have photo ID, for the most part, have found that it’s worked pretty smoothly,” Gale tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “And that’s one good reason why Nebraska has waited awhile to see how this issue has worked out. There are still some states that are in court and some voter ID systems have been set aside by courts, because states have made it too complicated to get a non-driver ID.”
Gale says the legislature must insure that anyone without photo identification will be given a photo ID without cost. He adds the legislature must factor-in the cost of educating the public about any change in voting requirements.
Gale says it is time for Nebraska to revert back to the winner-take-all format for distributing its Electoral College votes.
Nebraska adopted proportional distribution in 1991. Gale says other states failed to follow, with Maine being the only other states to distribute its Electoral College votes proportionally.
It has only come into play once. In 2008, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, won an electoral vote from the Second Congressional District even though he lost the state to Republican John McCain.
Gale says that under certain circumstances that could have had a big impact on the presidential election.
“It would not have been the voice of Nebraska and that is what the U.S. Constitution says, it’s up to the voice of Nebraska as to how to distribute those electoral votes,” according to Gale. “And I think we have to reflect the voice of Nebraska.”