Senate gives approval to requiring photo ID for voters

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Legislation requiring a photo ID in order to vote passed the Kentucky Senate along party lines on Thursday with Republicans moving the measure to the House.


Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, said there are alternatives for those who don’t have a photo ID, such as a driver’s license. 


“They may produce another form of ID such as a social security card, a credit or debit card, and affirm under penalty of perjury, that they are qualified to vote at the place where they are voting,” he said.


There is also another avenue available, he said.  “Someone without an ID will be required to sign a statement identifying a reasonable impediment to obtaining such an ID, such as a work schedule, disability or illness, or inability to afford the documents necessary to obtain that ID.”


Voters without a photo ID would still be able to cast a provisional ballot, but would have to return to the county clerk’s office by the Friday following the election to produce either a photo ID or another approved form of identification and sign a statement of reasonable impediments, I order to have their provisional ballot validated.


However, Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, spoke in opposition, saying, “This bill goes in the exact wrong direction from what we stand for as a nation, as a democratic republic.”


Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, also opposed the bill, said, “A lot of people have questioned whether this is an attempt to suppress votes.” 


The bill also provides for free photo IDs for those who do not have a driver’s license, and Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, expressed concerns about the cost.  “North Carolina has spent $20 million to give out free IDs under their voter ID law, Indiana spent $10 million.  I think $10 million can be better spent in Kentucky, when we have zero instances of in-person voter fraud today.”


Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, spoke in favor of the bill saying alternate forms of voter ID include Social Security or EBT cards.


The measure was approved along a strict party line vote, with 29 Republicans in favor and nine Democrats voting no. 


In other action, the Senate approved, 28-10 a bill requiring local taxing districts to submit tax increase proposals to the city or county legislative body that created them for approval; as well as legislation matching the new federal law raising the age to buy tobacco or vaping products to 21, also by a 28-10 margin.

  

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