voter ID

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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.

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The Kentucky House of Representatives has passed a bill that would require voters to show a photo ID in order to cast ballots in this year’s General Election, a top legislative priority for Republican leaders in the legislature.

After significant revisions, the measure provides several ways for those without photo IDs to vote, but opponents of the legislation say it will suppress voter turnout and create confusion for voters and election officials. Because of those revisions, the bill will go back to the Senate for final approval before heading to Gov. Andy Beshear.

On Tuesday, Rep. Angie Hatton, a Democrat from Whitesburg, was gaveled down by the House Speaker after accusing Republicans of pushing the bill for political reasons.


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The sponsors of a Kentucky voter ID bill have made changes to the proposal, no longer strictly requiring a photo ID in order to cast a ballot in elections.

The bill originally required voters to show a photo ID or else cast a provisional ballot that would require the voter to follow up at their circuit clerk’s office.

Now voters who have some non-photo forms of ID would be able to cast a ballot as long as they say they have a “reasonable impediment” to getting a photo ID.

 


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Incoming Secretary of State Michael Adams says he wants to “clean” Kentucky’s voter rolls and get the legislature to pass a voter ID law before next year’s election season.

The moves by Kentucky’s incoming chief election officer would have significant implications for next year’s political races, when Kentuckians will vote for contests in the U.S. Senate, Congress, all 100 seats in the state House of Representatives and half of the 38-member state Senate.

Adams, a Republican, made the comments before the legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on State Government as he outlined his priorities for the next four years.


A federal appeals court in Denver is scheduled to hear arguments Aug. 25 in a dispute over whether Kansas and Arizona can require voters using a federal registration form to show proof of citizenship.

It's the first of several significant cases this fall that could determine who gets to vote, and how, in at least six states. The outcomes could also answer a much broader question: Who gets to decide?

As new voter ID laws take effect across the county, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is maintaining his position that asking voters to produce identification before casting their ballot has no racial overtones. Paul told WKU Public Radio that voter ID provisions are needed to combat voter fraud and not doing so is a disservice to those who fought for the right to vote.

"Forty, 50 years ago when people were fighting for the right to vote, there were people beaten with clubs, there were people who fought for the Voting Rights Act, and at that time, African Americans weren't voting and weren't allowed to vote," said the Bowling Green Republican.

More states are enacting voter ID laws since the U.S. Supreme Court in June gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that gave the federal government oversight of states with a history of voter discrimination. Sen. Paul says he hasn't seen any evidence that minorities are facing obstacles in voting.  In fact, he says in the last election, African Americans voted at a higher percentage than White Americans in states that were under special provisions of the federal government. 

His comments come as he urges the GOP to do more to attract minorities, and as opponents of the Supreme Court's decision on the Voting Rights Act point to various voter ID laws they say are designed to discourage election day turnout in minority communities.

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A Republican-led push to use college IDs to vote in Tennessee was held up on the floor of the state Senate Thursday, as a disagreement has broken out between GOP lawmakers over the issue.

The legislation comes from a Rutherford County lawmaker, home to the largest undergraduate student body in the state. And while Senator Bill Ketron refused to accept student IDs when the law was passed two years ago, he’s now had a change of heart.

Senator Stacy Campfield of Knoxville has not.

“You know, I hate to say it, but possibly in my younger days I may have known a person or two who had a falsified college ID,” said Campfield.

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Both supporters and opponents of Tennessee’s voter ID law are pointing to newly released statewide data to bolster their positions. Nearly four out of five provisional ballots cast in the Volunteer State last November were tossed out.

The Republican-backed voter ID law was passed in 2011. Supporters say it’s an effort to ensure voter integrity and prevent election fraud. Opponents say it’s an attempt to suppress voting among traditional Democratic constituencies, including the urban poor who sometimes don’t have a government-issued photo ID.

Under the Tennessee law, those who experience trouble at the polls on Election Day are allowed to cast a provisional ballot which will be counted later if election officials determine the person casting the ballot is a legitimate voter. According to the data released this week, a little over 1,600—or 23%--of the more than 7,000 provisional ballots cast in Tennessee last November were ultimately counted.

A Nashville civil rights lawyer told The Tennessean those numbers show some voters were disenfranchised.

It's not just the choice of candidates that is contentious this presidential election in Tennessee. Voting itself, and who gets to do it, has become such a hot issue that federal election monitors are in Memphis and Nashville watching the polls.

A judge in Nashville has held Tennessee's voter identification statute constitutional. The Tennessean reported the ruling by Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Carol McCoy. After about three hours of oral arguments Wednesday, McCoy ruled against civil rights attorney George Barrett, who contended the state constitution requires only proof of legal age, residency and registration.

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A federal judge in Nashville says he isn't convinced photo IDs issued by the public library in Memphis meet the state standard to vote. But U.S. District Judge Kevin H. Sharp also expressed concern at a Wednesday hearing that poll workers were discouraging people who presented the IDs from voting on provisional ballots.