Kentucky House passes amended bill requiring photo identification to vote

Louisville Courier Journal,  March 4, 2020

"The state House passed a bill Tuesday requiring Kentuckians to present photo identification in order to vote. It would go into effect for the general election this fall.

Senate Bill 2 passed by a 62-35 vote, with all present Republicans members voting for it and all but two Democrats voting against the legislation.

Kentucky law currently allows eligible voters to cast a ballot if they present personal identification, but SB 2 would require government-issued identification that includes the voter's photograph.

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The Senate version of the bill would still allow eligible voters without a photo ID to cast a regular ballot or absentee ballot, as long as they sign an affidavit indicating a reasonable impediment to obtaining such an ID. Those without a driver's license would also be able to obtain a free photo ID card at their county clerk's office.

The bill passed by the House was amended on the floor to adopt several additional changes suggested by University of Kentucky law professor Joshua Douglas in committee.

Under this newest compromise bill, voter affidavits would now have a catch-all provision for why individuals were unable to obtain a photo ID. The amended bill would allow a person without a photo ID to vote if an election worker knows them, as long as that worker signs an affidavit.

Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, filed a floor amendment to incorporate two more suggested changes to the bill — pushing its implementation back to 2021 and no longer referring signed voter affidavits to local prosecutors — but it was rejected in a party-line vote.

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Asked Tuesday morning if he supported SB 2, [Kentucky Governor] Beshear said he would have to review the final version of the bill but could not support 'any bill that makes it harder to vote,' citing the 55th anniversary of the famous 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Alabama."

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Hannah Piercey

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