© 2024 WEKU
Lexington's Radio News Leader
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Update: We now have $67,900 to go to meet our annual fundraising goal by June 30. You can help WEKU cross the finish line with your support! Click here to make your donation. Thank you!!

Kentucky Senate adopts toughened voter ID legislation

Lawmakers standing- right to left-Bill Sponsor Adrienne Southworth-Louisville Senator Cassie Chambers Armstrong-and Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer
Stu Johnson
Lawmakers standing- right to left-Bill Sponsor Adrienne Southworth-Louisville Senator Cassie Chambers Armstrong-and Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer

The Kentucky Senate has voted 27 to seven in favor of modifying voter identification requirements. Proponents say it strengthens current law, while opponents say it’s more restrictive.

The legislation removes items from both primary and secondary voter ID lists. Removing student IDs as a primary form of voter identification created the most debate. Lawrenceburg GOP Senator Adrienne Southworth said there’s a need to be more careful of what’s out there regarding identification.

“What we’re doing in this bill is identifying where we place weight on which IDs people are bringing. And it’s important that we aren’t having this wide open for anybody to bring anything without it being property checked and vetted,” said Southworth.

If enacted, the bill would become law this summer. Southworth said it’s not related to the upcoming presidential election in November. Several Democratic senators spoke out against the voter ID bill. More than one cited GOP Secretary of State Michael Adams opposition to the bill as an indication that student ID fraud is not an issue. The bill also removes a credit or debit card as a secondary form of ID.

Louisville Senator David Yates said state transportation officials have talked about challenges for students in getting a driver’s license, which is an often used form of ID.

“How many barriers to get in there and get that ID. How hard that is for them. They need to take a full day off school, if they come in off college. We know that’s an issue. So, do we really want to make sure that they can’t vote,” said Yates.

Yates went on to say this modification will likely be challenged in court.

Saying opponents were making a mountain out of a molehill, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said this just makes the current election law better and gives voters more confidence. Senate President Robert Stivers offered that probably 99% of college students have a driver’s license they can use at the polls.

Northern Kentucky GOP Senator Gex Williams said the student ID could still be used as a secondary form of ID by signing an affidavit affirming proper identification.

Louisville Democratic Senator Cassie Chambers Armstrong said there’s no evidence of student fraud and that bill opposition by GOP Secretary of State Michael Adams should give all members pause. Louisville Democratic Senator Karen Berg expressed concern that although previous ID measures have passed constitutional muster, this may be going too far.

* WEKU is working hard to be a leading source for public service, and fact-based journalism. Monthly supporters are the top funding source for this growing nonprofit news organization. Please join others in your community who support WEKU by making your donation.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
WEKU depends on support from those who view and listen to our content. There's no paywall here. Please support WEKU with your donation.
Related Content