June 30, 2015

Missouri Secretary of State candidate files voter photo ID petition

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.

Republican Secretary of State candidate Jay Ashcroft (picture from Facebook)

Republican Secretary of State candidate Jay Ashcroft (picture from Facebook)

Jay Ashcroft’s petition, if successful, would ask voters to change Missouri’s Constitution to require photo ID 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.

Representative Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis County)

Representative Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis County)

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.

Parson formally announces campaign for Missouri governor

The field of candidates for the GOP nomination for governor in 2016 has gained another member. Bolivar senator Mike Parson has formally announced his campaign for governor, after telling the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association’s Board of Directors earlier this month that he had decided to run.

Senator Mike Parson (R-Bolivar) speaks at the monthly meeting of the Randolph County Pachyderms.

Senator Mike Parson (R-Bolivar) spoke at the March meeting of the Randolph County Pachyderms.

Parson was elected to the Senate in 2010 and is the chairman of its committee on Small Business, Insurance & Industry. He is a past sheriff of Polk County, spent six years in the U.S. Army and was elected to the state House in 2004.

The first hints of Parson’s interest in a run for governor began to appear after the suicide February 26 of Auditor Tom Schweich, who had just launched his own campaign for governor. Friends and family said Schweich was upset about a whisper campaign he believed was being conducted against him by the state GOP chairman John Hancock, and about a campaign ad that compared his physical appearance to that of TV character Barney Fife.

In the days after Schweich’s suicide, Parson took to the Senate floor to say that if negative campaign tactics played a role in Schweich’s death, the people behind them should be ashamed. He says his own campaign will be, “like no other.”

“I want to change the arena. It shouldn’t be about winning an election at all cost. It shouldn’t be all about the money … you should do things with an honorable intention of how you win an election, and if you win or lose, so be it,” said Parson. “I think at the end of the day we’re going to set a new example.”

Parson acknowledges he faces a challenge to reach the governor’s office. He becomes the third candidate in the GOP race along with former House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway and former state representative Randy Asbury. 2012 U.S. Senate hopeful and businessman John Brunner has formed a committee to explore the possibility of running, and several others are said to be potential candidates. The winner of the primary seems likely to face Democrat Chris Koster, who so far has the backing of several other key Missouri Democrats.

“I think the one advantage that I have over most candidates coming from rural Missouri … I’ve always been able to do well in the agriculture arena but I’ve always been a huge supporter of the urban issues as well,” Parson told Missourinet. “I think that hopefully by having that balance, that I can make the state even better.”

Parson owns a cow-calf operation near Bolivar. He and his wife Teresa have two children and five grandchildren.

Missouri House sends voter photo ID proposal to Senate

As it has done before in recent years, the state House has approved two measures aimed at requiring photo identification of voters in Missouri.

Tony Dugger floor 02-19-2015

Representative Tony Dugger (courtesy; Tom Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

One measure passed by the House would lay out how voter photo ID would work in Missouri, the other would ask voters in 2016 whether the state Constitution should be changed so voter photo ID can become law.  The bill would have no effect if voters reject the proposed amendment.

Click here to see how Missouri House members voted on both measures

Democrats including Stacey Newman (St. Louis) say the issue is really about reducing the number of blacks and older women who can vote – she argues those are groups who have a harder time getting photo ID, and who often vote for Democrats.

“Requiring a photo ID to vote knowing that everyone doesn’t have one is just another tactic to keep voters from polls who probably aren’t voting for you,” said Newman.

The debate over the past two days in the House often grew heated, with some Democrats calling the legislation “racist.”

House Speaker John Diehl, Junior (R-Town and Country), took the rare, for a House Speaker, step of speaking during debate. He insisted there is good reason the legislation is needed in Missouri.

“Why is this bill necessary? It’s because the secretary of state turns a blind eye to voter fraud in this state. I’ll say it again. The secretary of state turns a blind eye to voter fraud. The prior secretary of state turned a blind eye to voter fraud,” said Diehl.

The current secretary of state, Jason Kander, and his predecessor, Robin Carnahan, are both Democrats.

Both piece of legislation now go to the Senate.

Last year similar voter ID legislation cleared the House, but Senate Republicans agreed with Democrats in that chamber not to bring it up as part of a deal that saw Senate Democrats end a filibuster holding up abortion legislation.

How they voted: Missouri House votes on voter photo ID

The state House voted today to send two proposals to the Senate aimed at requiring photo identification of Missouri voters.

The first vote sheet is for a proposed change to the state Constitution.  This would be necessary for Missouri to enact a voter photo ID law because the state Supreme Court threw out a previous voter  photo ID law as unconstitutional.

How they voted - voter photo ID 02-19-2015









The second vote sheet, below, is for the language that would put the voter photo ID requirement into state statute.  That language, found in HB 30, would not take effect unless Missouri voters approve the proposed constitutional change, HJR 1, for which the vote sheet is seen above.

How they voted - voter photo ID 02-19-2015 2










Click here to see who your state representative is using the search tool on the House’s homepage

Schweich enters 2016 race for Missouri governor

State Auditor Tom Schweich has announced he is challenging former Missouri House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway for the Republican nomination for Missouri governor in 2016.

State Auditor Tom Schweich

State Auditor Tom Schweich

St. Louis Public Radio’s Joe Mannies reported his announcement on Twitter.

His announcement ends months of speculation about his political future. Schweich has been viewed for some time as a likely candidate for Governor but had declined to announce his plans until after the November, 2014 election.

He becomes the second Republican to declare candidacy for the 2016 governor’s race after Hanaway. Each have more than $1-million in their respective campaign funds. The only Democrat to announce candidacy for governor is Attorney General Chris Koster, who as of October listed more than $2.6-million on hand.

Schweich has been auditor since 2010 and won his second term in that office last year without Democratic opposition.

In recent years he has been credited as running an efficient and effective auditor’s office, but has also been criticized by Democrats for his legal challenges against Governor Nixon.

Hanaway preempted Schweich’s announcement by issuing a statement criticizing him for setting up a Republican primary for governor in 2016, saying primaries, “have repeatedly cost the Republican Party statewide elections.”