A bill receiving high priority by Kentucky Senate Republicans may set up a major fight over voting rights in the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, will require Kentuckians to have government-issued photo identification in order to vote. The bill has received the backing of new Secretary of State Michael Adams, who campaigned on the issue.
What are the voter requirements in Kentucky?: First, the prospective must be at least 18 years old by Election Day, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the the commonwealth for at least 28 days before Election Day. They must also be registered to vote, which can be done online at https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/ovrweb/.
Then, once registered voters arrive at their designated precincts, election officials must confirm the identity of each voter by "personal acquaintance" or by certain forms of identification, according to a Kentucky state statute.
These forms include a driver's license, Social Security card, government-issued identification and credit card, among others.
What is being proposed in Kentucky?: The bill's key component is the requirement of a photo of the voter on any form of identification they present.
Voters would also be required to show photo identification to request to vote by an absentee ballot, which is not the standard under current law.
Forms of acceptable voter ID under this law would include identification issued by the U.S., Kentucky, military, or colleges and universities that have the name of the voter, their photo and an expiration date.
If one doesn't have a valid photo ID at their polling place, they can cast a provisional ballot at their polling place, as long as they sign an affidavit indicating they have "a reasonable impediment in getting a photo ID," according to Secretary of State Adams.
Why is there support for a Voter ID law?: Mills said that requiring a photo ID for voting "increases public confidence in the election process."
Additionally, Adams said this bill would address voter fraud by people impersonating what he estimates are 300,000 to 400,000 individuals incorrectly listed on the state's voter rolls.
"It's a perfect storm for election fraud," Adams said. "We've got people on the rolls who shouldn't be there, who've died or moved to another state, and then there's no proof of identity."
However, Adams wasn't able to point to an instance over the past decade in which voter fraud was committed in Kentucky by someone impersonating another eligible voter.