Evnen and Danner Clash on Voter ID, Automatic Registration

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November 5th, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. — I recently sat down with both candidates for Nebraska’s Secretary of State—Republican Bob Evnen and Democrat Spencer Danner. Evnen and Danner are running to replace incumbent John Gale, who is leaving the post after 18 years in office.

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The most distinct difference between the candidates is their views on voter registration and ID. Evnen wants Nebraska to join other states in requiring voters to show identification at the polls.

“We can have voter ID without disenfranchising proper registered voters,” Evnen says. “Voter ID is the law in 34 states; it’s the law of every state around Nebraska except one. We can have a voter ID law; we can learn from the experiences of these other states so that we put together a voter ID law that’s effective in reducing voter fraud but isn’t disenfranchising voters.”

But Danner thinks this process does more harm than good and doesn’t adequately address other sources of voter fraud.

“There are things that are fraudulent that are going on out there,” he said. “But I try to tell people all the time—I don’t continue to waste my time debating people who want to push voter ID, because I feel like there are things that we can better focus on—efficiency, cost, time—and still be able to secure our voting system and election system but maximize eligible voter turnout.”

What Danner does support is automatic voter registration to increase turnout, saying that it will save the state money, maximize voter participation, and provide accurate information to clean voter rolls.

“I’m a firm believer that every individual, every eligible citizen, should exercise their right to vote. . .there is no harm in making sure that every eligible citizen is registered to vote.”

Evnen, on the other hand, argues that automatic registration adversely affects election security and that it is not a serious way to increase turnout.

“What I’m for is for voting security. It’s very important that our elections are conducted in a fair and secure way so that the public has confidence in the integrity of our elections. That’s critical.”

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