Republicans used their majority muscle to force through an election reform measure over objections by Democrats that it addressed a problem that isn’t there. The showdown on the bill made for a tense last day of the 2006 legislative session, a day that started early in the Senate. Republican senators waited until the end of a long day of debate and at 1:30am Friday pulled out a rare parliamentary move to cut off debate and force a vote. Democrats strongly object to the bill’s provision that requires voters show photo identification to cast a ballot and had fought Republicans over the provision throughout the session. It appeared a deal had been reached on the issue, but when it fell through, Republicans threatened use of the tactic and when Democrats refused to yield, Republicans follow through on the threat. The House convened later that morning and worked through some routine measures before beginning debate on the bill shortly after 11am Friday. Nearly two hours later, House Republicans cut off what had been fiercely partisan debate and forced a vote in that chamber. The bill received just two votes above that needed to pass as nine Republicans, unhappy with Senate changes to the bill, sided with Democrats in voting against the measure. Photo identification will be required of voters beginning with the November elections. A driver’s license or military card will suffice. The state will provide free ID photo cards to the estimated 170,000 voting-age Missourians who don’t have one. The bill also ends straight-ticket voting. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the state’s chief election official, opposed the bill. It has been sent to Governor Blunt, who promises to sign it.
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