Debate is underway in the legislature on a requirement that voters display photo identification before casting a ballot.
Opponents plan to talk a long time.
Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill sponsors LB 111, which he told colleagues is patterned after an Indiana law which withstood a legal challenge before the United States Supreme Court. Larson asserted that under his proposal everyone’s right to vote is protected while insuring the integrity and reliability of the voting process.
The chairman of the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. John Murante of Gretna, said the committee added amendments on a number of issues, including a provision that would provide a free photographic identification card to anyone who did not have a state driver’s license or the equivalent.
Murante said during legislative floor debate the voter photo ID bill is needed.
“It’s not sufficient to simply have systems of government which work. We need to have systems of government which people believe work,” Murante stated. “And, there is a lack of confidence in the electoral system that we have now.”
The arguments and assertions of supporters did nothing to dampen the opposition.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha began a filibuster against the bill.
“I think there should be some discussion to show how treacherous, how disingenuous, how racist this whole thing is,” Chambers told colleagues.
Opponents charged that the bill isn’t needed, that voter impersonation isn’t a problem in Nebraska. They also claim the bill will suppress certain blocks of voters, especially low-income and minority voters.
Debate is expected to last for hours before a vote is taken to advance the bill.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]