The state House has sent the Senate proposals to require Missourians to have photo IDs to vote. One proposal in the House would ask voters to change the state constitution so it would allow voter photo ID, and the other would create the structure in law for it.
A voter photo ID requirement was struck down by the state Supreme Court in 2006 because it required people to pay to get an ID, and any documents they would need to get one, such as a birth certificate.
The sponsor of the statutory language, Representative Justin Alferman (R-Hermann), says his bill addresses that concern.
“The tenants of which it was found to be an undue burden in 2006 was because we were not providing those documents, so yeah I would probably agree that was an undue burden,” said Alferman. He says under his bill, “If you do not have a license issued by the State of Missouri … the state of Missouri shall pay for one for you. If you do not have the source documentation to obtain a driver’s or a non-driver’s license, either that being from the State of Missouri or any other state, the State of Missouri will pay for the source documents.”
Like most Democrats, Representative Mike Colona (D-St. Louis) opposes voter photo ID. He asked Alferman how the state would pay for providing those IDs. The cost of his bill, in the first year after its implementation, is projected to be more than $10-million.
“Where’s the money going to come from? Do you want to take it from education? Do you want to take it from Mental Health? Do you want to take it from … the Department of Labor? Do you want to take it from our Conservation Department? Do you want to take it away from the legislature?”
Under Alferman’s bill, in any year the legislature and governor don’t agree to provide money to pay for people’s IDs and source documents, the voter photo ID requirement would be suspended.
Representative Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City) say it could rob some people of the right to vote, and isn’t necessary.
“No one can give recent, specific examples, documented and prosecuted, of the type of voter fraud that voter photo ID could prevent, and that’s voter impersonation. That’s why I have voted against these bills in the past and why I’ll vote against them today,” said Morgan.
The state Senate has its own version of those bills that have had a Senate committee hearing, but have not been voted on.