The election process in Nebraska could change under measures considered by the Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee last week.
One was LB619, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha to allow all counties in the state the opportunity to hold elections by mail-in ballots.
Under the current system, a county must have fewer than 10,000 residents to apply for mail-in ballots. The county clerk or the election commissioner of these counties must apply to the secretary of state to be considered. The bill would require the same application, but any county could apply.
If proper steps are put in place, this is a bill that should gain support. In Cuming County, voting in primary and general elections is already done by mail, and the results so far have been positive.
We think voting by mail will lead to more votes being cast, which is a good thing. It also could do so by reducing the cost of elections. Currently, the county hires poll workers for each precinct. They are on the clock from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and some beyond 8:00. Not all of them would be needed if the votes were mailed in.
The best part of the bill is that it’s not a mandate that forces counties to do something. It gives them an option to take part. A good option, we think, especially for those with declining populations.
Another voting measure that gained some traction was Legislative Resolution 15CA, sponsored by Sen. Adam Morfeld. It would amend the Nebraska Constitution to prohibit requiring that voters provide identification. That resolution is at odds with a similar resolution by Sen. John Murante. His, LR1CA, asks if voters want to amend the constitution to require voter ID.
If either, or both resolutions pass this year, they would go on the general ballot in the November 2018 election. We tend to agree with Morfeld that voter ID impedes the fundamental constitutional right to vote.