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Voter ID bill approved in senate committee

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 06:10:49-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lawmakers moved one step closer to requiring all Kentucky voters to show photo ID at the polls.

Senate Bill 2, the voter ID bill, was approved 8-3 in a senate committee on Wednesday. The vote was split along party lines.

Secretary of State Michael Adams spoke in favor of the bill. He told lawmakers the bill is a good idea given that Kentucky has many close elections.

"We have to have public confidence in our elections system," said Secretary of State Michael Adams, who supports the bill.

"Part of why I'm pushing this is to enhance that public confidence."

The bill presented today had changes made to it. Compared to the original one that was presented, today's bill would allow those without a photo ID to use another form of identification, like a social security card or a credit card. However, they would need to sign an affidavit confirming that they are who they say they are.

The bill also got rid of the expiration date requirement. The original bill required the photo ID to have an expiration date on it, but some IDs, like student ones, do not have that.

The third change made to the bill is notarized affidavit. The bill no longer requires voters to get a notarized affidavit stating why they don’t have an ID.

With these changes, Adams told senators today that the bill would prevent fraud. He says that's important going into 2020 elections.

"If there's any election that we should be concerned about ballot integrity, it's this one," said Adams.

"This is obviously a high profile election. You've got a very competitive senate seat and a very competitive election for essentially determining which party controls the senate. You're going to see potentially foreign actors, you're potentially going to see domestic actors, messing with this election."

However, not everyone is buying that argument. Critics believe this bill will make it more difficult for some people to vote.

"If you want more people to do something, you make it easier. If you want to fear people to do something, you make it harder," said Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey.

"I think this bill is putting up road blocks in front of people that will prevent them from voting."

Sen. McGarvey also said this bill would only help prevent impersonation, which he says is something that is not happening in Kentucky.

"We have now the second Secretary of State since I've been here, many county clerks, saying we don't have a problem in Kentucky of in-person voter fraud, which is what this bill seeks to address," said McGarvey.