Are Republicans still even bothering to try to hide the fact that they just don’t want people voting?
While the nation is in the midst of fighting a global pandemic, legislators in Republican-controlled Kentucky thought it was a good time to push new voter ID laws by citing the potential for rampant voter fraud—a thing conservatives have been talking about for years despite the fact that no one can seem to provide evidence that it’s actually happening.
According to the Washington Post, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear recently vetoed a law requiring that Kentucky voters show a government-issued photo ID before they can cast a ballot. On Tuesday, the Kentucky General Assembly overrode that veto to the dismay of Democrats, voting-rights groups and Beshear himself.
“I think that this is a decision being made in a world like we don’t have an international health pandemic,” Beshear said Tuesday during a news briefing. “Can’t [Republicans] at least wait until the next session when we’re not facing this? If you want to pass a voter ID bill, that’s fine, but let’s do it outside the coronavirus.”
Beshear noted that the offices that issue photo IDs are currently closed, meaning anyone wishing to participate in the upcoming presidential election who doesn’t already have ID is going to have an uphill battle on their hands trying to ensure that they’re represented in the electorate.
But state Sen. Robby Mills, the bill’s lead sponsor, insists that this new law is absolutely necessary saying Tuesday that it would add “guardrails in our voting procedures that will help cure vulnerabilities that exist.”
But do they actually exist?
According to PBS, opponents of the bill have said that Republican legislators can’t cite a single instance of in-person voter fraud in the state of Kentucky and that enacting new photo ID requirements will only serve to keep minorities, poor people, the elderly, and the disabled from being able to vote.
Studies have shown that all forms of voter fraud are extremely rare in the U.S. Even the panel formed by President Trump to investigate election corruption found no real evidence that it’s a substantial problem before he disbanded it in 2018. So what could the constant pushing of voter ID laws possibly accomplish outside of quelling the Republican fear that the higher the voter turnout, the worse it is for the party? Perhaps they should be known as the “solutions without a problem” party.
The Kentucky chapter of the ACLU said it was considering legal action “to make sure every eligible voter can still cast a ballot under this oppressive measure.”
“This new law is fundamentally incompatible with the ongoing pandemic,” Corey Shapiro, legal director of the ACLU of Kentucky, said in a statement. “This law will make voting more difficult, and potentially dangerous, for any Kentuckian who does not feel safe leaving their home during this pandemic – even for those who currently have a valid photo ID.”
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s the point.