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Nebraska Gov. Ricketts backs voter ID measure as proactive step

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Gov. Pete Ricketts said Monday that Nebraskans should be required to show photographic identification before voting, even though he acknowledged there have been few cases of voter fraud in the state.

“The time to try to correct your system is not after you discover there’s fraud,” he said. “You want to be proactive.”

The governor commented during his monthly radio call-in show in response to a Lincoln man, identified as Steve.

Steve questioned the need for Initiative 432, a proposal to amend the Nebraska Constitution to require that people show “valid photographic identification” before casting a ballot. He said Secretary of State Bob Evnen has said there has been no systemic voter fraud in the state.

But Ricketts said he “absolutely” supported the initiative measure and predicted the majority of voters will support it as well. He said that people have concerns about the integrity of voting systems stemming from the 2020 election and that voter ID would be one step to protect Nebraska elections.

“I think it’s another way to let our voters here in the state know that we’re taking steps to protect the integrity of our election system,” he said. “It’s one of the ways we can make people feel good about what we’re doing here.”

Republicans nationwide, led by former President Donald Trump, made false claims that massive voting irregularities in 2020 gave the presidency to the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. They have continued to make the claims despite a lack of evidence.

Initiative 432 was placed on the ballot through a petition drive led by Citizens for Voter ID. State campaign finance records show that Ricketts’ mother, Marlene Ricketts, provided nearly $1.9 million of the group’s nearly $2.1 million in funding.

If the measure is approved by voters, it would be up to the Legislature to determine the types of identification that would be acceptable. The ballot measure specifies only that the ID must be “valid” and “photographic.”

Ricketts said the Legislature would determine how the requirement would be carried out in the case of mail-in ballots. The measure says the requirement to provide ID applies to “any election,” with no distinction between mail-in ballots and those cast in person.

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