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Beshear Vetoes Voter ID Bill, Legislature Has Chance To Override


Gov. Andy Beshear has vetoed the voter ID bill that passed out of the legislature last month.

The bill would have required Kentucky voters to show an ID before casting a ballot, or else show a social security card or credit card and sign an affidavit promising they are who they claim to be.

It would have also created a way for people to get an ID for free at their local county clerk’s office.

In his veto message, Beshear said that the law would create an obstacle for Kentuckians trying to vote, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when offices that provide ID cards are closed to in-person traffic.

“Furthermore, no documented evidence of recent voter fraud in the form of impersonation in Kentucky has been presented in support of Senate Bill 2 and, therefore, the legislation would be attempting to resolve a problem does not exist,” Beshear wrote.”

The legislature will have a chance to override Beshear’s veto when they reconvene on April 14th and 15th. It takes a simple majority of votes in each legislative chamber–51 out of 100 members in the House, 20 out of 38 members in the Senate–to override a veto.

If ultimately passed into law, the voter ID policy would go into effect for Kentucky’s November general election, when voters will weigh in on races for the presidency, U.S. Senate, Congress and most seats in the state legislature.

The bill has been a top priority of Kentucky’s new Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams, who said that it was important for the state to implement the policy this year, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is running for reelection in a high profile race.

Shortly after Beshear issued his veto, Adams issued a statement asking that legislators override the governor’s action.

“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,” Adams wrote.

Adams said earlier this year that he didn’t have any proof that in-person voter fraud was a problem in Kentucky, arguing that the proposal would boost voter confidence in an era when citizens are worried about election security.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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