A United States Supreme Court ruling that upheld an Indiana law requiring voters to display photo identification has breathed new life into the effort in Missouri.
The House has approved a constitutional amendment that would require voters to have a photo ID to cast a ballot. Republican lawmakers are pushing a constitutional amendment, because the Missouri Supreme Court held that a law passed two years ago violated the Missouri, not the United States, constitution.
This issue sharply divides Republicans and Democrats. Debate on the House floor grew sharp and harsh. Democrats accused Republicans of attempting to suppress the vote among traditional Democratic constituencies. The measure passed on a party-line vote.
The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Paul LeVota of Independence, lashed out at Rep. Stanley Cox, the Sedalia Republican sponsoring the measure.
"Name one person who has voted under the wrong name," LeVota challenged Cox, shouting, "Name one!"
A couple of Republicans referred to the conviction of workers for the liberal activist group, ACORN, convicted of voter fraud for gathering false names during a voter registration drive in Kansas City. Democrat dismissed that example, noting that the ACORN workers were registering voters, not casting fraudulent votes.
Republican Jim Lembke of St. Louis tired of hearing Democrats say that requiring a voter to display photo identification harms the sacred right to vote.
"Just as sacred as the right to vote," Lembke said during floor debate, "is the ability that we safeguard that vote."
He and other Republicans say that every fraudulent vote cancels out a legitimate vote. The resolution, HCS HJR 48 , moves to the Senate with a week left in the session.