LB675 would satisfy a newly adopted amendment to the state Constitution regarding voter identification while maintaining and protecting access to the franchise for all Nebraskans.
The bill, introduced in the Nebraska Legislature today by State Sen. Jen Day of Gretna, outlines a range of acceptable identification requirements to cast a ballot. It also provides alternative steps for voters who might not have proper ID and includes investments in resources and infrastructure to ensure Nebraska’s elections remain secure and efficient.
“Nebraska’s elections are already well-run and well-organized – that’s something we don’t want to lose in this whole process,” said Heidi Uhing, Civic Nebraska’s director of public policy. “If our state plans to add new requirements to vote, then we must balance those requirements with clear, straightforward voter accommodations.”
LB675 defines qualifying identification to include driver’s licenses, learner’s permits, state ID cards, school-issued student IDs, military identification cards, tribal ID cards, and other lawful forms of identification commonly used in other states. Nebraska voters who do not have one of the qualifying forms of ID could sign a declaration attesting to their identity and acknowledging the penalty.
To address the added time commitments and expenses that new identification requirements create, LB675 provides voters the option to request a qualifying ID online; expands DMV hours and staffing, including evenings and weekends during election season; adds new locations around the state to obtain IDs; and increases election staffing, training, and seating at poll sites to accommodate longer lines and delays.
Finally, the bill includes a number of voter-friendly provisions that would improve Nebraska’s election efficiency. They include automatically registering a voting-age Nebraskan when they obtain a driver’s license or state ID; a new website to request vote-by-mail ballots; and additional methods for Nebraskans to track the status of their ballots.
The bill sets a grace period through 2026, to allow for a public-relations campaign to help inform voters on any new ID requirements.
LB675 is among several bills introduced in the 2023 legislative session, after the Nebraska Constitution was amended to require voters to provide identification in order to vote. State Sen. Steve Erdman is sponsoring LB228 and LB230, and State Sen. Julie Slama is sponsoring LB535.
Any legislation that adds new steps for Nebraskans to vote must be closely scrutinized because the risk of disenfranchising eligible voters is always present, Uhing said.
“We look forward to working with senators to improve any and all bills that would impose new identification requirements,” Uhing said. “The goal is to secure as positive of a result as possible for Nebraskans.”