Push for voter ID bankrolled by Ricketts' mom
Whether you are for or against voter identification, if it comes up for a vote later this year you can thank—or blame—one big spender, Gov. Pete Ricketts’ mom.
According to state records, Marlene Ricketts has single handedly bankrolled the ongoing statewide petition drive to the tune of $376,000—a one-time, lump sum contribution made last July 13th.
The group notes only one other donation, $1,000 from former Omaha Mayor/Congressman Hal Daub on July 26th.
While raising $377,000 dollars, Citizens for Voter ID has been spending heavily to get enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.
In its latest financial disclosure, the ID folks report shelling out $270,512— most of that for “signature gathering” by Vanguard Field Strategies in Kansas City—with $106,487 cash on hand.
The petition drive was launched after State Sen. Julie Slama tried to get her fellow lawmakers to put the issue on the ballot, but that effort failed when her measure was bottled up in committee and never reached the floor of the Legislature for a vote.
During a public hearing last year Slama argued that several other countries along with 35 states in the U.S have adopted voter ID. “It's a commonsense, low-cost measure to further secure our elections at a time where the issue is on the forefront of many Nebraskans' minds,” said the conservative Republican.
Her opinion countered by the Democratic Party’s Preston Love who made the case that voting in Nebraska and Douglas County is “at an all time-high" and that voters have confidence in the current system. ”If we keep persisting and implement an amendment for voter ID, some of the voters will lose their confidence. And so I say to you, think about and trust me, minorities and elderly people will be affected negatively, and the voting turnout will be affected negatively if we do voter ID."
An estimated 124,000 valid signatures are needed by July in order to ask for the voter’s approval.
Asked by NCN how many signatures have already been banked, a spokesperson for the group would only say they are “on track.”