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Beshear vetoes photo ID bill, Republicans respond

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Posted at 9:56 AM, Apr 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-04 09:56:53-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — On Friday, Governor Andy Beshear announced his decision to veto Senate Bill 2, which would require Kentuckians to have a photo ID in order to vote.

The governor said he believes the bill would create voting obstacles, resulting in fewer people casting their ballots.

Governor Beshear also cited safety in his decision, saying the bill would threaten the health of Kentuckians by requiring us to get a photo ID during the coronavirus pandemic.

He also noted those offices are currently closed to in-person traffic, and it's not known when they would re-open.

"I'd be against this bill even if the coronavirus wasn't here. I want to be transparent about that. I think more people should vote. And I was the attorney general for four years, and we never had one case of someone trying to impersonate another because they didn't have a photo ID. It didn't exist," said Beshear.

The Republican-controlled legislature is scheduled to reconvene April 13, and Secretary of State Michael Adams is urging lawmakers to override the veto.

Secretary Adams sent a tweet after the announcement, in part saying: "I ask the legislators of both parties who believe in election integrity and passed this law to override this regrettable veto, and I hope the Governor will eventually join me in governing from the center."

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer sent a tweet on Saturday morning: Disappointed the Gov. vetoed SB2, sponsored by @RobbyMillsforKY. In our Republic, we should take every step to protect the integrity of the ballot. Requiring a photo ID to vote has huge public support across all ideologies. I will urge my colleagues to override the veto."

Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey tweeted his support for the veto: "This bill was always a solution in search of problem. Kudos to @GovAndyBeshear for vetoing it...especially as it could make voting more difficult during this pandemic."

Republican Party of Kentucky spokesman Mike Longeran also released a statement: "We're disappointed the governor felt the need to veto a bill that a vast majority of Kentuckians support. By passing this bill, Secretary of State Michael Adams and our House and Senate Republican lawmakers were delivering on campaign promises to better protect voting rights and election security in Kentucky. We're hopeful our Republican supermajorities will override the governor's veto."

Even if the Republican-controlled legislature overrides the veto, SB 2 would not go into effect until after the scheduled June 23 primary election.