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Kentucky governor vetoes voter ID bill, calling it the 'wrong move'

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) on Friday vetoed a bill mandating residents of the state show a government-issued form of identification before voting.

In his veto message, Beshear hammered Republicans for trying to push legislation that would “create an obstacle” to voting and tackle a “problem that does not exist,” referring to GOP-fueled claims of voter fraud.

“I am vetoing Senate Bill 2 because the provisions of the law would create an obstacle to the ability of Kentuckians to exercise their right to vote, resulting in fewer people voting and undermining our democracy. Furthermore, no documented evidence of recent voter fraud in the form of impersonation in Kentucky has been presented,” Beshear, Kentucky’s former attorney general, said. 

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Beshear went on to note that the legislation could put Kentuckians in harm’s way during the coronavirus crisis by forcing them to leave their homes to obtain the needed identification. 

However, Beshear’s veto could be overridden since the bill was passed by supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature. 

“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,” Secretary of State Michael Adams (R) said in a statement. 

Should the legislation ultimately be passed, voters would have to present government ID starting in November.

Supporters of the law have pointed out that forms of identification are needed for other transactions and that the legislation allows voters without ID to cast provisional ballots and then later prove their identity to enable their votes to be counted. 

But the bill’s opponents, largely Democrats, say the legislation is intended to undermine turnout among traditionally Democratic-leaning voters such as the elderly, those with low incomes and African Americans.