The unofficial final election results from Fremont show voters rejecting any changes in a controversial city ordinance that blocks illegal immigrants from renting property in the city.
According to the report from Dodge County election officials, approximately 60% of the voters have said no to amending the ordinance.
Virginia Meyer was among those pushing to amend the ordinance. She said, “I think it could have some very negative consequences for the community so that's why I've decided to get involved.”
But many felt strongly on the other side of the debate and some were upset that they had to cast another vote to make their point.
Raleigh Brooks told us, “I think if it’s been passed once and everyone's content with it, which it seems like to me it's been, I think it should stay that way.”
Elected officials decided last fall to ask voters to rethink the ordinance. It was part of an effort to crack down on illegal immigration in Fremont, which is northwest of Omaha.
A federal appeals court signed off on the ordinance last year. But Tuesday's vote was scheduled because of concerns about how much the regulations would cost the city in legal fees and lost federal grants, and the effect they have on the city's reputation.
Supporters said it was important to take a stand against illegal immigration.
The ACLU of Nebraska issued a statement after the vote reading, in part, "We are saddened by the result of today’s vote, and will stand with those residents of Fremont who will be harmed by the unfortunate decision to allow a discriminatory housing ordinance to be implemented. We commend local leaders and residents who worked hard and long to uphold the welcoming values that as Americans we hold dear."
It goes on to state, "The tide is turning in America, and by pursuing this backward policy Fremont stands apart from communities across the country that have come to realize how costly and self-defeating these types of exclusionary policies can be."
Voter turnout for Tuesday’s special election was approximately 43 percent. That’s slightly lower that what officials had expected.