By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2015, 1:19pm PT  

A bit of good voting news, for a change, via Zach Roth at MSNBC today...

Opponents of a voter ID bill in the Nebraska legislature say they've succeeded in killing the measure.

Eleven Republicans joined all 14 Democrats Wednesday in voting to shelve for the year an ID bill that just last month was seen as having a good shot at passing.

"It is victory. It's done," state Sen. Adam Morfeld, who led the opposition, told msnbc moments after coming off the floor. "The bill is dead."

The utter lack of documented voter fraud in the state made the bill a tough sell even with many Republicans. The measure's backers were unable to cite even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law.

While that may be true, that same fact --- the lack of "even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law" --- hasn't stopped Republicans from passing similar restrictions on voting in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas, over the last several years (even as many of those restrictions have been found unconstitutional by courts thereafter.)

In 2012, a Photo ID restriction bill in Nebraska was defeated by a fillibuster, when, as AP reported at the time, critics "blasted the proposal as an attempt to keep poor, elderly, disabled and college-aged voters from casting a ballot." This time, Roth reports, the bill was killed outright.

"We found out half-way through the filibuster that we actually had a majority of folks that wanted to kill the bill," Morfeld told MSNBC, which reports that "Voting rights advocates had said at least 112,000 Nebraskans, likely significantly more, lack the ID that would have been required" to vote under the proposed restriction.

But Roth also notes that the key to killing the bill outright was likely found in the non-partisan nature of the state's unicameral legislature which "isn't organized by party, though individual members have party affiliations. That makes it easier for lawmakers to vote their consciences."

"It's much less partisan in our body, and people are able to be more independent," Morfeld told MSNBC. "People aren't punished for not following the party lines on certain issues, because our leadership is non-partisan."

Also, it seems, thanks to the body's unique structure, the voters of the state will not be punished either, by purposely discriminatory partisan voting restrictions --- at least not this year.

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