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House Approves Amended Voter ID Bill, Sends to Senate

A proposed voter ID requirement for Kentucky voters is on its way back to the Senate after being amended and passed Tuesday in the state House.

Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Sen. Robby Mills (R-Henderson) and Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) would require voters to present a government photo ID in order to vote, or present another approved form of identification and affirm under penalty of law that they had an impediment from accessing a government photo ID. 

Voters without an approved form of identification at the polls, but otherwise eligible to vote, would be permitted to cast a “provisional ballot” for federal candidates in federal elections as long as they can provide some form of approved identification before the close of business Friday following the election, or affirm by law their inability to do so. 

House changes to the bill would allow qualified voters without a government photo ID to cast their ballot at the polls both if the voter is recognized by an election officer and the officer attests under law to knowing the voter.  Also, county board of elections would be allowed to rule on questions regarding proof of identification.

SB 2’s provisions would take effect in time for this year’s general election should the bill become law.

Opposing the bill was Rep. Attica Scott (D-Louisville) who told her colleagues that around 25 percent of African-Americans don’t have photo identification. SB 2 would make voting difficult for those individuals, she said.

“Disenfranchisement and voter suppression may not matter to you, but it certainly does to me,” Scott told the House. 

Rep. James Tipton (R-Taylorsville), who brought SB 2 to a vote on the House floor, said the bill is meant to preserve the integrity of Kentucky elections.

“The one thing I’ve heard loud and clear from my constituents (is) they want to make sure that when they cast their vote their vote is going to count, and is not going to be overturned by somebody trying to abuse the system because of a lack of identification at the poll,” said Tipton.

The House passed SB 2 by a vote of 62-35. The bill now returns to the Senate, where it passed by a vote of 29-9 in late January.

From the Legislative Research Commission

Photo: Rep. James Tipton (provided)