Thayer files bill to require voters to show IDs, wants to move it with felon voting rights measure

02/13/2014 05:49 PM

Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, introduced a bill Thursday to require Kentuckians show a valid photo id to vote.

Senate Bill 10, which is not yet available online, is modeled after legislation adopted in Indiana that survived a challenge in court, Thayer said.

Kentucky poll workers routinely check voters’ identification when they arrive in precincts to vote, but it’s not required.

“We have the possibility, but also the poll worker can simply vouch for the person and they can go ahead and vote,” Thayer said. He added that the law allows someone who can’t pay fees for a drivers license to get a free ID from a county clerk.

Lynn Zellen, the director of communications for the Secretary of State’s Office said the current process at voting precincts is “effective.”

“According to information available to our office, Kentucky’s current voter identification requirement is effective in preventing voter impersonation,” Zellen said in a statement.

“I think it’s reasonable to protect the integrity of the ballot. This is at the very core of our Republic – the right to vote – and the integrity of the ballot,” Thayer said. “I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have someone show a photo ID.”

As legislation progresses in the General Assembly to restore voting rights to felons , Thayer said the General Assembly should move “concurrently with a photo id requirement.”

That proposal, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Jesse Crenshaw of Lexington, is a constitutional amendment that would automatically restore the right to vote to former non-violent felons five years after serving their sentences. Because that proposal is in the form of a constitutional amendment, Thayer said he didn’t envision attaching a voter ID bill, which is a statutory change.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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