Push for voter ID leaves unanswered questions
With the push to put Voter ID on the November ballot facing a July 7 state petition deadline, an investigation by News Channel Nebraska finds one voter ID leader, unwilling to answer key questions about vote fraud, more specifically the lack of it, in Nebraska.
NCN’s Joe Jordan filed this exclusive report (see video above).
In what had become a yearly and always losing battle in the Legislature, changing the Constitution and mandating voter ID in Nebraska, is now a street fight.
State Sen. Julie Slama leading a petition drive to put voter ID on the ballot in November.
A Slama petition gatherer telling me this week she’s getting $4 a signature with more than half she talks to signing on.
Petition Gatherer: Maybe 7.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Seven out of ten have signed?
Petition Gatherer: Seven out of ten, yes, today. Because they do agree with having to present their ID.”
Echoing what Slama has said for over a year.
Sen. Slama (Legislative Hearing, 2021): “Many have said that they always thought voter ID should be required in elections and do not understand why this wasn't already in place when a valid ID is required to drive, purchase cold medicine, or spray paint or even to see an R rated movie.”
Preston Love (NE Democratic Party, Legislative Hearing, 2021): “Walk with me through my community and you have elders who vote every election and who it will be difficult for if not impossible for them to get ID. If it's not broke don't fix it. It's not broke.”
The argument that if voting security isn’t broke don’t fix it, is based on years and years of local and state election officials insisting that there is no vote fraud in Nebraska.
John Gale (Former Secretary of State (R), 2016): “In all the years that we followed this process we have not had any examples of systemic fraud in the state of Nebraska.”
Following the 2020 election Republican Secretary of State Bob Evnen issued a lengthy report targeting what he called myths: One specifically noting that “hundreds of affidavits have been collected in Nebraska proving voter fraud.”
Evnen countering that, “The Secretary of State’s office has received no affidavits from any organization. To the extent they can be tracked, the bits and pieces we have seen are not correct.”
And most recently the man in charge of elections in the state’s most populous county, Republican Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse, said election fraud is “essentially non-existent.”
But during that public hearing last year Senator Slama attempted to turn that message upside down.
Sen. Slama: “Yes, voter fraud happens even here in Nebraska. In 2017 two Lexington men were convicted of voting multiple times in the 2016 elections.
That specific case involved these two men, who according to these court records were charged with voting more than once.”
During an investigation by News Channel Nebraska the men’s attorney said it was all a “simple misunderstanding” that when the men, who struggled with English, thought they were registering to vote they were actually voting so when they went to their polling place a few weeks later that vote was flagged.
And initially the men were charged with a Class IV felony, the possible punishment a maximum two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. But in the end the two were convicted of a misdemeanor and fined $100, no conviction for felony vote fraud.
Given our information concerning the two men in Lexington, News Channel Nebraska has repeatedly tried to ask Sen. Slama if she still considers that a case of vote fraud. Senator Slama has never gotten back to us.
In addition, according to the Nebraska Secretary of State those two Lexington votes were the only two cases of questionable votes raised in 2016, two out of 860,000 votes cast across the state.
Again, the petition deadline is July 7 and finds the voter ID folks needing 124,000 valid signatures. According to several published reports there have been accusations that some of the petition gatherers have not been on the up and up, telling potential signers they work for the State of Nebraska.
In addition, as NCN first reported the money behind the voter ID effort comes almost exclusively from Gov. Pete Ricketts’ mother who has contributed at least $376,000 to the statewide effort.