Evnen says stopping voter fraud would be focus as secretary of state

Bob Evnen is the first declared candidate to success John Gale as Nebraska Secretary of State (NTV News)

The man who wants to be the next Secretary of State says Nebraska can do more to stop voter fraud.

Lincoln attorney Bob Evnen announced his candidacy Monday at the capitol, and then hit the road to visit with supporters.

The Republican is a past member of the state board of education, and he’s endorsed by Sen. Deb Fischer.

Evnen says he would take seriously the responsibility’s as Nebraska’s chief election officer, to ensure elections are conducted fairly.

Current Secretary of State John Gale has said voter fraud is rare.

Evnen said the state needs to take action, like requiring proof of citizenship to register.

He cites criminal cases against two Lexington refugees who voted, as evidence the state needs to ensure only citizens are voting.

He said, “If you want to stop voter fraud, you have to get ahead of the curve. You have to think about it before you're suffering from the effects of voter fraud, which is why we ought to be paying attention to it now.”

Evnen says it's common sense to require voters to show ID.

State Sen. Adam Morfeld has been especially outspoken on that issue. He has said voter ID laws amount to a poll tax.

Morfeld and other opponents say that would harm low income Nebraskans who don't have a license, and would hinder voters in rural areas where there are limited DMV hours.

Evnen says those concerns can be overcome.

He said, “We have to have a voter ID policy where people who can't get drivers licenses or state issued IDs for a variety of reasons aren't shut out of exercising the franchise. We have answers for those things. We can do that.”

With many counties shifting to election by mail, Evnen says he prefers polling places.

He is also concerned early voting is too early. He says people cast their ballots before campaigns are completed.

Evnen praises John Gale, saying he's done an excellent job, and that he would like to continue many of the initiatives underway in the office.

Evnen and his wife Debra live in Lincoln. They have three adult children and two grandchildren.

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