By Syndicated From External Source on January 24, 2020
“That right there is a crisis in our democracy,” according to Jesse Salinas, the county’s assessor/clerk-recorder/registrar of voters. “It is so important that … Google RSS Source
The sponsors of a Kentucky voter ID bill have made changes to the proposal, no longer strictly requiring a photo ID in order to cast a ballot in elections.
The bill originally required voters to show a photo ID or else cast a provisional ballot that would require the voter to follow up at their circuit clerk’s office.
Now voters who have some non-photo forms of ID would be able to cast a ballot as long as they say they have a “reasonable impediment” to getting a photo ID.
Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams, who supports the proposal, said that the photo ID bill is necessary because of Kentucky’s high-profile U.S. Senate race this year.
“I think if there are going to be hijinks in our elections, this is going to be the year,” Adams said.
“We’ve got competitive elections, we’ve got high priority elections, we are a national center I think for interest of anyone wanting to do harm to our elections. To me, it would be choking to not have it in place in 2020.”
The bill passed out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday and can now be voted on by the full Senate.
Adams said he didn’t have any proof that in-person voter fraud was a problem in Kentucky, but argued that the proposal would boost voter confidence in an era when citizens are worried about election security.
Under the new version of the bill, Kentuckians who have a credit card, debit card or social security card would be able to cast a ballot as long as they check a box saying they have a “reasonable impediment.”
The reasonable impediment list includes lack of transportation, inability to afford a copy of a birth certificate or other documents, work schedule, lost or stolen ID, disability or illness, family responsibilities and religious objection to being photographed.
The bill would also allow voters to use expired photo IDs to prove their identities.
The measure is opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. ACLU legal director Corey Shapiro said that the proposal would create a complicated scheme that the state would have to rush to implement.
“Mandating photo ID will only exacerbate the difficulties Kentuckians already face when voting, particularly the disabled, minorities, the elderly and hourly workers,” Shapiro said.
If it passes, the bill would go into effect for this year’s general election in November, when Kentuckians will weigh in on contests for Mitch McConnell’s senate seat, the presidency, congress and most seats in the state legislature.
Adams said that he would conduct a public awareness campaign ahead of the roll out and suggested that the legislature should fund it.
Sen. Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat from Louisville, said that the state doesn’t have a problem with in-person voter fraud and that Adams’ proposal is unnecessary.
“If you want fewer people to do something, you make it harder. I think this bill is putting up road blocks in front of people to keep that will prevent them from voting,” McGarvey said.
Kentucky voters can currently prove their identities using several means, including a social security card, credit card or even if they are known by an election official.
The proposal would also allow eligible voters to get a free photo ID if they can prove they have a financial hardship.
Voters who don’t have any form of ID on Election Day would be able to cast a provisional ballot and then verify their identity in person at the circuit clerk later in the week.
Action in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday was about laying the ground rules for the coming weeks — and it brought a reminder that even this highly scripted ordeal may include a few surprises after all.
Senators did not agree to the first draft of rules proposed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., notwithstanding his party’s control of the chamber and his reputation as a savvy counter of votes.
He had repeatedly insisted that the rules for the trial would be modeled on those for the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
McConnell also said confidently last week that all the members of the GOP conference backed his approach to have the prosecution and defense lay out their arguments and address written questions before turning to the issue of whether to subpoena witnesses or documents.
When members of his own conference reviewed the details of his resolution, McConnell was forced to do something he doesn’t have to do often — change his plan under pressure from fellow Republicans.
His draft resolution stated that each side would present its case in up to 24 hours over two days. His last-minute revision expanded that timing to three days. He also allowed evidence from the House to be automatically entered into the record unless there were an objection.
But while McConnell may have been forced to revise his plans for the overall structure for the trial rules, he was able to stave off multiple attempts by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., later in the day on Tuesday. Republicans voted down multiple amendments to subpoena documents from the White House, State Department and other administration officials. They stuck with McConnell’s argument that the issue about witnesses and documents would be addressed after both sides made their case for and against impeachment.
Collins leads rebels in balking at rules
McConnell is frequently lauded for his political acumen and ability to see around legislative corners. He held firm as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., demanded he set up a “fair trial” before she sent over the articles of impeachment. He prevailed — she was unable to extract any commitments.
The majority leader also ignored predictable calls from Democrats such as Schumer to allow more than two days for the impeachment managers to make their case.
But he couldn’t ignore Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who was among a group of Senate Republicans who insisted that the time be extended.
“Senator Collins and others raised concerns about the 24 hours of opening statements in 2 days and the admission of the House transcript in the record,” her office said in a statement. “Her position has been that the trial should follow the [Bill] Clinton model as much as possible. She thinks these changes are a significant improvement.”
The fate of McConnell’s initial proposed rules represented a very rare defeat at the hands of his own allies and underscored the desire, at least by Collins and a few others, for the Senate not to appear as a partisan rubber stamp.
Dems, White House spar over witnesses
On that point, at least, Collins and the other rebels broadly agreed with the case made by House impeachment managers about a number of amendments to McConnell’s rules.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the lead manager, urged senators to adopt a number of amendments offered by Schumer that would have admitted witnesses and documents into the proceedings.
Trump’s fate in this phase of impeachment — whether he’s convicted or acquitted — will have greater value if Americans believe that the president truly underwent a full and fair trial, Schiff said.
And that means, he argued, that the Senate must bring in former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and others who Schiff said would shed more light on the underlying events of the Ukraine affair.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone urged senators to reject Schumer’s amendments, and he repeated Republicans’ long-standing criticisms of the impeachment case generally and Schiff in particular.
“It’s outrageous!” Cipollone said.
Schiff and his compatriots, including Democrats Zoe Lofgren of California and Val Demings of Florida, made what were effectively opening arguments against Trump, structured around the evidence they said should be brought into the matter.
Demings, for example, detailed the material in the possession of the State Department that she said would strengthen Democrats’ case that Trump had abused his power or conditioned his policy toward Ukraine last year on the expectation that its leaders would launch investigations that Trump thought would help him politically.
Debate was expected to continue late into the night on Tuesday as Schumer continued to offer amendments seeking testimony or material for the trial — and McConnell and Republicans were expected to continue to bat them down.
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Two months after initial reporting in The Athletic that the Houston Astros used illegally placed cameras to steal signs during their 2017 season, the scandal is back in the headlines. The resulting MLB investigation led to the firing of three managers and one general manager, plus the loss of draft picks and a $5 million fine for the Astros. Players have taken to social media to express their frustration, and rumors of cheating schemes continue to swirl on the internet. On today’s show, the Hot Takedown team debates the ramifications of the scandal and how MLB must evolve its thinking around technology.
Our Rabbit Hole builds on Neil’s recent piece on the lack of diversity among NFL coaches.
What we’re looking at this week:
- ESPN on how the internet cracked the sign-stealing scandal wide open.
- On NBC News’s Think, Corbin Smith agrees with Sara that the scandal is overblown.
- NPR’s interview with N. Jeremi Duru, an adviser to the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, which advocates for minority representation in leadership roles throughout the NFL.