Residents of Fremont, Nebraska, on Monday voted in favor of a measure that makes it illegal to harbor, hire, or rent property to an illegal immigrant.
The Associated Press reported moments ago:
The special election in Fremont on Monday was the latest proposal in a series of immigration regulations taken up by communities around the country. About 57 percent of voters supported the measure, which is expected to be challenged in court.
Supporters say the measure is needed to make up for what they see as lax federal law enforcement. Opponents fear it could fuel discrimination.
According to local paper the Fremont Tribune, turnout was high:
With approximately 45 percent voters turnout, 3,906 ballots were cast in favor of the ordinance and 2,908 against. [...]
Many poll workers said they had seen more voters by mid afternoon than they had for all of primary election on May 11.
"It's wonderful to see this many people," said Susan Siebler, a poll worker at Moller Center. "It's very disappointing when you see just a trickle come in."
The Tribune offered a history of the controversial measure Monday morning:
Debate on the issue began more than two years ago when then city council member Bob Warner led an effort to create a local ordinance to combat illegal immigration.
That effort was turned back on July 29, 2008, when a split council rejected the ordinance. Mayor "Skip" Edwards cast a "no" vote to break the tie, but the measure would have failed without his vote.
Moved to action in part over the council suspending its rule and voting on the proposal after just two readings, a group of residents led by Jerry Hart, Wanda Kotas and John Wiegert began a petition drive in September 2008 to hold a special election on the ordinance.
Fremont city leaders sought a court ruling on the legality of the ordinance, but an April 2010 Nebraska Supreme Court decision said the election should move forward.
The Town published a lengthy Immigration Ordinance Fact Sheet on June 2 to explain the full details of the measure to residents.
In case your curious, Fremont is located about 20 miles west of Omaha, and has a population of about 25,000. Founded in 1856, its primary business is agriculture although its largest employer is Hormel.
Exit question: How soon before media members begin calling Nebraskans racist?