Voter Suppression is Violence – stop Senate Bill 2 | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Voter Suppression is Violence – stop Senate Bill 2

x20200122_102707KFTC members were in Frankfort and on the phones yesterday to fight Senate Bill 2, a photo voter ID law designed to make it harder for some Kentuckians to vote by creating new hurdles for them. It’s especially troubling for young, elderly, low income and people of color communities – people who are less likely to have or need a photo ID. 

SB 2 is supposed to make it harder for people to impersonate someone else on election day. But even the bill's supporters at the hearing couldn't come up with even one example this century of any time anyone tried to do that in Kentucky.

To address this non-existent problem, they’re trying to pass a complicated 66-page bill that restructures a lot of our voting process and they’re trying to do it all in a hurry.

We ought to be making it easier for citizens to vote, though, not harder.

x20200122_115538Over 400 KFTC members called legislators to oppose the bill yesterday, and 20 of us were there in the committee hearing with "No on SB 2" and "Voter Suppression is Violence" stickers that were very visible.

Willie Perkins, a KFTC member from Lexington who doesn’t have an ID, was there. “I’m afraid they’re going to try to prevent me from voting,” he said. Willie doesn’t have a photo ID and while he’s been trying to get one, he doesn’t know if he’ll have it in time.

Our allies from ACLU, the County Clerk's Association, League of Women Voters and Catholic Conference testified against the bill and have been working to make it less bad. But no changes to the bill would be better than simply not passing it.

Newly elected Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, who’s been pushing the bill, also celebrated how “nice” the tone of the hearing was. But voter suppression IS violence and some people in the room remarked that we shouldn’t always be so "nice" in the face of it.

20200122_104610Senator Morgan McGarvey asked if Adams could cite even one case of someone impersonating a voter in Kentucky (he couldn't) and asked whether it's reasonable to build a massive infrastructure that keeps people from voting to address a problem that doesn't even exist.

Adams countered that people might try to impersonate voters in the future and it makes sense to address the problem before it happens. And he said that there's a perception that this kind of voter fraud exists, so passing this law would increase confidence in the electoral system. Adams also implied that former president Jimmy Carter supports mandatory photo IDs for voting (he does not). 

Senator Johnny Ray Turner said that lots of people in Eastern Kentucky are born at home (including his wife). She's had a hard time getting a birth certificate, even as connected as she is. So many people will fail to get an appropriate ID.

x20200122_130303KFTC Democracy Fellow Tayna Fogle caught Adams after the committee meeting and told her story, pushing against SB 2. “It's my job to bring people into the Democracy and to tell them Democracy works. But Democracy didn't work today,” she said.

SB 2 passed Senate State and Local Government 8-3 yesterday along a party-line vote. It passed the full Senate today, 29-9.

UPDATE (March 20): An amended version of SB 2 passed both chambers of the legislature, and is headed to Governor Beshear's desk.

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