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Voter IDs seem like a no-brainer; mail-ins a plus
Is the voter ID bill a solution for a problem that doesn't exist?
Opponents say it is, and several Nebraska lawmakers have lined up amendments in an effort to filibuster and block LB 239, which would require voters to show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.
Proponents say the law is needed to detect and discourage voter fraud in Nebraska.
Opponents say it's an attempt to make it difficult for seniors and low-income people to vote.
Historically, Democrats believe higher voter turnout benefits them, which is why they see LB 239 as a Republican plot to reduce their influence.
We've always been a little puzzled, we admit, over the fact that poll workers don't require better identification before they accept our vote.
The new law would require voters to show a photo ID to cast a ballot, but if they didn't have one, they could still vote using a provisional ballot that would be verified later. Another option would allow voting by mail without providing the ID.
That latter option makes sense, whether or not a photo ID is required at a conventional polling place.
Friday, Secretary of State John A. Gale announced that voters in 19 precincts in five Nebraska counties will no longer go to the polls on Election Day, and will instead vote by mail.
The all-mail voting system has to be approved by the secretary of state, and he did so for six precincts in Cedar County, six in Stanton County, three in Hamilton, three in Merrick and one in Cherry County.
State law allows a county with fewer than 10,000 residents to apply to the conduct all elections by mail in precincts in the county. The state now has 44 all-mail precincts in nine counties out of a total of about 1,400 precincts.
In this day and age, when you can't write a check without a photo ID or undergoing what amounts to an instant credit check, it doesn't seem unreasonable to require verification of a voter's residence and eligibility to vote.
Such verification has the side benefit of emphasizing the importance society attaches to casting a vote. Showing an ID reinforces in the voter's mind that he or she is performing an important civic duty.
And, with the small number of voters in Nebraska, and the history and potential for close votes, even a small amount of voter fraud could swing an election.
Showing a proper ID when casting a vote seems like a no-brainer.
If the voter ID bill doesn't pass, however, mail-in ballots, which at least provide a certain amount of verification with the help of the U.S. Postal Service, seem like a positive step in the right direction, a system that might be expanded.