Nebraska Group Begins Push for 124,000 Signatures to Force Voter ID Law Onto 2022 Ballot

A Nebraska group in favor of requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote has started a drive to collect 124,000 signatures in order to place the issue on the 2022 general election ballot.

Petitions in Nebraska require signatures from 10 percent of registered state voters, which is about 124,000 people. To ensure participation from rural areas, petitions must have signatures from at least 5 percent of registered voters in 38 of the state's 93 counties.

Citizens for Voter ID said it began gathering signatures Thursday. Other conservative states have enacted ID requirements to vote, despite scant evidence of fraudulent voting, according to the Associated Press.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

NC Voter ID
A campaign to require a government-issued photo identification to vote in Nebraska has started collecting signatures to place the issue on the 2022 general election ballot. Above, North Carolina State University students wait in line to vote in the primaries on March 15, 2016, in Raleigh. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Nebraska lawmakers have repeatedly rejected attempts to pass a voter identification law, prompting campaign organizers to seek voter approval for a state constitutional amendment.

"The people of Nebraska are often referred to as the second house and our committee is making sure that their voice is heard over those of the special interests with influence in the Capitol," said Republican state Senator Julie Slama of Sterling, one of the petition sponsors.

If the measure passes, lawmakers in the officially nonpartisan Legislature would have to determine details about the policy, including what would count as valid identification. They would also need to decide how the law would apply to people who vote by mail and how the state would provide free IDs to those who don't have one.

Some states have started targeting mail-in ballots as well, including Florida and Georgia. Nebraska is one of 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, that don't impose any identification requirement to vote.

For those that have, the requirements vary. Some states mandate photo identifications, while others allow non-photo identifications and still others offer alternatives to an ID card, such as having a poll worker vouch for the voter.

Meanwhile, the voting-rights advocacy group Civic Nebraska plans to spearhead a "Decline to Sign" campaign to discourage people from signing. The group, founded and directed by Democratic state Senator Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, argues that the proposal would make it harder to vote and cost the state money to implement.

"Every Nebraskan who cherishes our state's motto of 'Equality Before the Law' should be seriously troubled," the group said in a statement.

The Nebraska Republican Party has called for a state voter identification, while the Nebraska Democratic Party has voiced opposition.

The other sponsors of the measure are Nebraska Republican Party National Chairwoman Lydia Brasch, a former state senator, and Nancy McCabe of Omaha, a former chairwoman of the Douglas County Republican Party.

Julie Slama
Nebraska state Senator Julie Slama is a sponsor of the Citizens for Voter ID group's petition. Above, Slama participates in the Applejack parade in Nebraska City on September 19, 2020. Nati Harnik, File/AP Photo