Brewer-Chaired Committee Sends Amended Voter ID Bill To Floor Debate


     A compromise version of a bill implementing the constitutional amendment passed by Nebraska voters in 2022 requiring a photo ID to vote is headed to floor debate over the vehement objections of its sponsor.

    The Legislature’s Government and Military Affairs Committee decided to back a months-long push by Chairman Tom Brewer of Gordon to “keep things simple,” choosing it 6-0 over the proposal from Senator Julie Slama of Peru. 

    Slama, the campaign face of the voter ID ballot drive, blasted the amended bill, calling it “unconstitutional” and an “abomination” because it lets people write down their own ID numbers on requests for ballots by mail.

She said it “makes our elections less secure and clearly violates the language of the successful Constitutional Amendment.” 

    She also attacked fellow conservative Republican and Secretary of State Bob Evnan, saying his office “obstructed this process every step of the way.”

     Evnan says Brewer asked him to come up with a proposal that implements the ID requirement while following state and federal law, including election case law, and sharply rejects Slama’s claim that it’s unconstitutional. 

     Evnan says it allows for a digital process to send in verification of a voter’s photo ID and codifies the current practice of checking citizenship at the time of voter registration, adding that Slama’s push for citizenship checks when voting risks violating federal law.

     Evnan also says Slama’s version appears to suppress the votes of rural voters and that he’s repeatedly said that he won’t support a bill that does that. He says he regrets Slama “is so upset,” but he thinks the committee took a better approach.

      Brewer defends the compromise, saying Slama wanted to “expand the scope of the mission while he wanted to do what the voters approved – a requirement to verify a voter’s identity. 

     His plan is also cheaper, costing about $1.8-million to implement while Slama’s would cost an estimated $23.6-million, mainly for equipment for local governments to produce state ID cards – a figure Slama disputes.

4 thoughts on “Brewer-Chaired Committee Sends Amended Voter ID Bill To Floor Debate”

  1. Erdman wanted in person, same day, voting only. Absentee ballots notarized if used. At least Brewer was realistic enough to know what rural Nebraskans face. With fewer newspapers and less coverage of voting issues, it is only going to get worse. How many people voted for ‘casino gambling’ but DIDN’T know that only 6 places could offer it? If you saw Tom Osborns anti casino ad on tv you would have thought it was going to be all over the state. The legislature killed plans in Gering and North Platte by raising the bar of who and how much money down was required.

    • I agree that most of the proposed concerns over voting ID really end up suppressing rural votes. I don’t know that many of our state legislators understand how far people have to travel to reach an office, like the notary that Ms. Slama wanted to include, and often find it closed. I’ve really enjoyed mail in voting, it gives me time to think about my voting process.

  2. I live in very rural Dawes county Nebraska. I would have to travel 12 to 20 plus miles to vote in person, but we did this for years before our County Clerk took away our rights. Traveling did not stop us or most of our neighbors from voting. Voters want honest elections and the proposed amendment will not get us that. I stand with Erdman and Slama on this issue.
    Myrna Betson
    Rural Whitney, Dawes County Nebraska

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