Government Military and Veterans Affairs

Extended time sought for voter registration

Nebraska voters would have more time on the final day of online voter registration under a bill considered Feb. 2 by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.Sen. Theresa Thibodeau

Currently, the deadline for online registration to vote in-person on election day is the third Friday before the election. LB1038, introduced by Omaha Sen. Theresa Thibodeau at the request of the Nebraska secretary of state’s office, would create a deadline of midnight on that day.

“LB1038 extends the online voter registration deadline from 5 p.m. to midnight on the deadline date,” Thibodeau said. “[It] provides clarification regarding online voter registration.”

Wayne Bena, deputy Nebraska secretary of state for elections, testified in support of the bill. The measure would clarify the lingering question of when online voter registration ends in the state, he said. If there is not a specific deadline set in state law, he said, it is 5 p.m.

“This bill would give residents a 24/7 [registration] method even on the deadline day,” Bena said.

Lancaster County Election Commissioner David Shively also supported the bill. It has been evident since the inception of the state’s online voter registration system in 2015 that voters are unclear about the deadline, he said.

“We hope that this would end any confusion on the part of voters,” Shively said.

The committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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