A Republican candidate for Missouri Secretary of State has filed an initiative petition aimed at requiring voters in Missouri to show photo ID at the polls.
Jay Ashcroft’s petition, if successful, would ask voters to change Missouri’s Constitution to allow photo ID to be required when voting. The state legislature would then have to develop the framework of voter photo ID.
The petition would have to get about 160,000 signatures in six of the state’s eight congressional districts to make it to a statewide ballot.
Ashcroft believes Missouri voters will support his petition.
“So we make sure that eligible voters have the opportunity to vote, and that the people that follow the law that vote are not disenfranchised by people that violate the law and either vote when they should not or vote more times than they should,” Ashcroft told Missourinet.
St. Louis Democratic state representative Stacey Newman said requiring a photo ID could disenfranchise more than 200,000 current voters who lack a photo ID, many of whom she says could have difficulty getting the documents needed for such an ID. She argues photo ID also seeks to stop a problem that doesn’t exist.
“We don’t have any documented instances, an instances in Missouri that have been prosecuted, in terms of in-person voter fraud on election day, and that’s the only kind of fraud this measure would prevent,” Newman said.
The state’s Constitution would have to be changed because the state Supreme Court found photo ID unconstitutional in 2006.
Legislative efforts to enact voter photo ID have failed. In 2011 the legislature passed both a proposed constitutional change and the statutory language of how voter photo ID would work, but the ballot language of the former was struck down in court and Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the latter.