Bring your ID next time you head to the polls: Nebraskans approve requiring ID to vote

Nov. 8, 2022, 9 p.m. ·

Sen. John Murante promotes his voter ID proposal (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

Nebraskans will be required to show identification to vote in future elections.

Voters approved a measure Tuesday to require people to present “valid photographic identification” for every election they participate in going forward. Amendment 432 won with more than 65% of the vote,, according to the Secretary of State office.

For supporters of voter ID requirements in Nebraska, the result was a long time coming. A voter ID law was first proposed in the Legislature in 2011 but that time and every time since, opponents blocked the proposals.

This year the group Citizens for Voter ID, bankrolled primarily by $1.5 million from Gov. Pete Ricketts mother Marlene Ricketts, sought to bypass the legislative process by putting the question directly to voters. Ballot initiative supporters grabbed headlines by exceeding the number of valid signatures needed to put a constitutional amendment before voters. Tonight’s results lend support to claims that while voter ID legislation was unable to survive the legislative process, a majority of Nebraskans approve of such a law.

State senator Julie Slama coordinated the effort for signatures. At Jim Pillen’s election watch party on Tuesday, Slama said this was a ballot measure for the people.

“I'm thrilled for the state of Nebraska overall for this,” Slama said. “This is a common sense election security measure that I'm glad we passed.”

For critics of voter ID, the results represent a failure to convince Nebraskans that the unintended consequences of such a law outweighed the benefits. Critics claimed that voter ID requirements are, among other things, costly. One analysis from a proposed voter ID law in 2018 pegged the cost at an estimated $3 million in its first year. They also say requiring an ID to vote is a barrier for those with outdated IDs or without the means to purchase a new one.

Nebraskans for Free and Fair Elections oppose the measure. In a release sent out Tuesday night the opposition campaign wrote:

“Nebraskans should expect the same politicians who spent so much time and money to sell this vague bill of goods to now work to impose one of the most restrictive voter ID mandates in the country. As we begin the next phase of opposition to this new burden on voters, we challenge our fellow Nebraskans to remain informed, active, and engaged.”

Now that the measure has passed, the battle over what constitutes valid photographic identification is just beginning. While Amendment 432 re-writes the state constitution to mandate voter ID requirements, supporters say it purposefully does not specify which forms of photo ID will be allowed at polling locations. That will be up to lawmakers to decide when the Legislature reconvenes in 2023.

Aaron Bonderson contributed reporting to this story.