As Republicans in other states continue to push for more voting restrictions, Kentucky has gone against the grain – enacting legislation to make it easier for residents to vote.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) on Wednesday signed a bipartisan bill to expand voter access. The bill, among other measures, allows up to three days of early voting, establishes voting “super centers”, where voters in any constituency can vote, and creates an online portal for registration. postal votes.
The legislation also includes certain restrictions, including a ban on the collection by third parties of postal ballots. It also gives state officials more authority to remove people from electoral rolls if they have died or have moved to another state.
The bill was approved last week by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature.
As the New York Times noted, Kentucky is the only state with a Republican-controlled general assembly that has taken steps to improve voter access since former President Donald’s November election loss. Trump. In contrast, states like Georgia, Arizona and Texas have taken steps to restrict voter rights.
Beshear said on Wednesday he was proud of his condition.
“We have shown during this pandemic that we can vote safely, that we can eliminate any concerns about fraud while still expanding access so that everyone can make sure they can vote,” Beshear told the Lexington Herald Leader. “While some states have taken a different direction, I’m really proud of Kentucky.”
But as the Herald Leader noted, Kentucky – even with the new legislation in place – has some of the most prohibitive voting rules in the country. The state’s election laws are even more restrictive than those in Georgia, where legislation drastically limiting voting rights was passed last month and enacted.
Beshear acknowledged that Kentucky could do more to empower voters, but said the new bill was a victory for the state nonetheless.
“Listen, this is a session in which we’ve seen a lot of battles, and in order to be able to come together and expand, at least in part, our access to the ballot box is a victory for the Kentuckians,” Beshear told the Herald Leader.
Michael Adams, Republican Secretary of State for Kentucky, echoed that sentiment.
“Kentucky had probably the most restrictive voting laws in the country so far,” Adams, a strong supporter of the bill, told The Times. “And that’s what we’re trying to change.”
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