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Priority GOP Bill Tightens Voter ID Requirements

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Republicans offered more specifics on the Kentucky Senate's new priority voter ID legislation Wednesday.

Under existing state law, voters have relatively broad leeway when it comes to the types of ID they can show at the polls — including none at all if poll workers can personally attest to the their identity. But the GOP-led Senate wants to add a new photo requirement.

Secretary of State Michael Adams made "cleaning up" the voters rolls and tightening voter ID planks in his successful 2019 campaign for the office. The voter ID bill's sponsor, Sen. Robby Millers, says his bill would allow for no-fee ID cards for eligible voters who need one.

Backers argue the mandate will bolster public confidence in election results, but critics warn the new rules will make it more difficult for disadvantaged groups, including minorities, low-wage workers, and the elderly, to vote, and could end up costing the state millions.

University of Kentucky election law expert Joshua Douglas also says, while the law permits the use of university IDs, neither UK nor UofL's would be accepted because they do not include expiration dates. In a tweet, Douglas added that there is "zero evidence" of in-person impersonation taking place at Kentucky voting locations.

The voter ID bill was one of several high priority measures announced Tuesday in the GOP-controlled Senate. A bill banning sanctuary cities topped the chamber's to-do list.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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