Kentucky lawmakers strike down veto, pass voter ID law

This year, lawmakers are doing that in a way never seen in the commonwealth before.
Updated: Apr. 14, 2020 at 8:12 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - A veto made by Governor Andy Beshear opposing a voter ID law was defeated in the state legislature.

Lawmakers in both the Kentucky House and Senate voted to override Beshear’s veto of SB 2.

Republican state lawmakers called the proposed voter ID law one of their top priorities at the beginning of the 2020 legislative session.

Proponents said it would increase confidence in the state's elections by preventing fraud, but Democrats are claim that problem doesn't exist, adding the bill would keep legal voters from heading to the polls.

Voters would need a photo ID to cast a ballot in-person or through the mail. Senate Bill 2 also lays out a process to provide free IDs to people in need.

The debate Tuesday focused on the impacts of the coronavirus on the new rule.

“Our county clerks offices are closed and people cannot go and get a drivers license, even if they wanted one," Minority Floor Leader Sen. Morgan McGarvey said. "You’re standing here today making it harder for people to vote.”

One of the bills sponsors responded by stating it would not impact the primary elections, now being held in June.

“This simply will not go into effect until November’s elections," Republican Senator Robby Mills said. "I’m sure that we will have those clerks offices open and doing business later in the spring or summer and there’s going to be ample opportunity.”

The ACLU of Kentucky has been opposed to SB 2 since it was rolled out. ACLU-KY Legal Director Corey Shapiro released the following statement, in part:

“Kentucky lawmakers continued to ignore the real problems facing the Commonwealth in the middle of a global pandemic by overriding a veto for a voter suppression measure.

We remain concerned about the rushed timeline and lack of resources to implement this new law just months before a highly anticipated general election and in the middle of a national emergency. We are currently evaluating whether to seek court intervention to make sure every eligible voter can still cast a ballot under this oppressive measure."

The House also vetoed bills that deal with how judges interpret insurance laws and one that allows government notices to be posted online instead of in newspapers.

SB 15 was also approved by the House in a 74-15 vote, which would put Marcy’s Law on the ballot again.

Lawmakers are set to meet for their last day of the legislative session on Wednesday.

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