Senators rejected a cloture motion Tuesday on a resolution that would ask Nebraskans to decide if voter identification should be mandatory.Sen. John Murante of Gretna introduced Legislative Resolution 1 CA to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2018 general election ballot. If approved, Nebraskans would have to present a valid photo identification at the time of polling.
Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha moved to postpone the bill at the beginning of debate. He said he thought people weren't going to change their minds on this issue and a long debate would be a waste of the lawmakers' time.
"Clearly this law is not needed,” Wayne said. “Clearly this law by the data disenfranchises, and clearly this body needs to move forward and do something else."
Wayne was referring to the disenfranchisement of poor and minorities. He said historically, some state governments have used this legislation to keep minorities from voting.
Murante agreed that this has happened in some states.
But he said the purpose now is to use voter ID to keep voter fraud under control.
Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue opposed the resolution, saying the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution rules states can't pass laws that burden the right to vote.
Murante said that rules can be changed if the state has a compelling reason. His reason was that voter fraud is already a problem. He also said that over 80 percent of Nebraskans agree with voter ID requirements.
Murante said that if the resolution passed, he would work all summer to avoid excluding any legal voters from voting.
"I do not and will not support legislation which inhibits the rights of any voter, including minority voters," Murante said.
Murante eventually said he knew where the resolution stood and that it wouldn't have the necessary 33 votes to end debate.
He then invoked a cloture motion, which failed on a 26-17 vote. Debate ceased as the bill was set aside.
It is unlikely the resolution will be brought up for more debate this session.