Minimum wage, voter ID measures to appear on November ballot

September 6, 2022 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Proposals requiring a photo ID to vote and to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour will appear on the November ballot, Nebraska’s top elections official confirmed Tuesday.

The Nebraska Secretary of State office announced in a news release that it had verified enough signatures by both campaigns to place the issues before voters in the general election.

The pay measure would ratchet up the minimum wage to $15 hourly by 2026. The first incremental increase would bump it to $10.50 an hour in January 2023. The state’s current minimum wage is $9 an hour, $1.75 more than the federal hour minimum wage of $7.25. Petition organizers have said the measure would raise wages for an estimated 150,000 workers in Nebraska.

The voter ID proposal would enshrine in the state constitution a requirement to show a government-issued photo identification to vote in Nebraska. The petition effort, bankrolled by Gov. Pete Ricketts’ mother, was launched last year after state lawmakers were repeatedly blocked by Democratic opponents, who have argued that voter ID laws are meant to discourage voting by minorities and others who tend to vote for Democratic candidates. Voter ID requirements are common in other Republican-led states.


If the measure passes, the Nebraska Legislature would have to determine details about the policy, including what would count as valid identification. They would also need to decide how the law would apply to people who vote by mail and how the state would provide free IDs to those who don’t have one.

Other conservative states that have enacted voter ID requirements, even though there’s scant evidence of fraudulent voting.

Nebraska law requires that referendum petitions to enact a new law gather the signatures of at least 7% of the registered voters in the state — about 87,000 in Nebraska — as well as 5% of the registered voters in 38 counties. The minimum wage petition garnered more than 97,000 verified valid signatures, and the 5% threshold was reached in 44 of the Nebraska 93 counties, the secretary of state’s office said.

Efforts to enact a constitutional amendment, such as the voter ID measure, require signatures from 10% of the registered voters in the state — or about 124,000 — and 5% threshold in 38 counties. The voter ID effort gathered nearly 136,500 valid signatures and met the 5% threshold in 76 of 93 counties.