Lawmakers pass new voter ID law, some question the necessity

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Kentucky legislature overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of Senate Bill 2 that requires voters to show photo identification before being allowed to vote.

In the past, in order to vote, showing some form of identification was a must. But come November, the same form of identification you’ve used might not work after the passage of Senate Bill 2.

Proponents of the bill say it will cut down on voter fraud. But Corey Shapiro, legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, believes those fears are overblown based on past elections, as he says there has never been a confirmed case of voter fraud in Kentucky.

At issue is the difficulty for some citizens to get a government-issued identification car due to distance from the circuit clerk’s office or because of the expense of gathering up documents that are needed to apply for an ID. Shapiro believes that will impact some groups more than others.

He says minority groups, older adults and those living in outlying rural areas have the most trouble getting to the circuit clerk’s offices. And right now, due to the coronavirus, most Kentuckians can’t get a new identification card or renew an existing one since most government offices are closed.

But Lynette Yates, Warren County’s Clerk, says there is still an alternate way of being identified at the polls since poll workers can sign affidavits if they can visually identify the person wanting to vote based on the worker recognizing the voter. Still, Shapiro says the new law is a “solution in search of a problem.”