The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-KY legal director Corey Shapiro regarding Senate Bill 2:
“The day after Kentucky celebrated the 100th anniversary of expanding the right to vote to include women, the Kentucky Senate declared it a priority to restrict voting access. The voters elected the legislature to solve the real problems facing this Commonwealth. There is no evidence that in-person voting fraud is a problem in Kentucky, as evidenced by not a single credible instance of voter fraud in the close election last fall.
Mandating photo identification will exacerbate the difficulties Kentuckians already face when voting, particularly the disabled, minorities, the elderly, and hourly workers. 11% of all U.S. citizens and 25% of African-Americans lack government-issued photo identification. While this law will allow people to get such identification without upfront charges, the state will use a significant amount of taxpayer dollars to create the IDs and educate the public about the need for photo IDs. There will also be hidden costs to those needing new identification, such as time and money spent to get the identification and the underlying documents needed to acquire an ID. Indiana spent more than $10 million to produce free ID cards between 2007 and 2010.
The real problem facing Kentucky voters and elections are our restrictive voting policies, and this mandatory voter ID bill will only make matters worse. When enacted, photo ID laws reduce turnout by 2-3 percent. Additionally, polls are open only from 6 AM to 6 PM, and unlike nearly every other state, one needs to have specific excuses to vote absentee. Hourly workers are forced to choose between taking unpaid leave or not voting. If the Senate truly cared about improving our democratic processes, they would make it easier to vote by increasing access to the polls by creating vote-by-mail, expanding the hours polls are open, or even allowing people to vote absentee without an excuse.”