The Senate Financial, Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee has approved a House bill dealing with voter photo identification and has sent the legislation to the full Senate. HJR 48 has already cleared the Missouri House. The measure, if approved by the General Assembly, would ask voters to authorize giving the General Assembly the power to enact legislation requiring voter photo ID.
A Senate hearing heard from a number of opponents of the legislation, including Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D-MO), who argues the photo ID requirement would disenfranchise some voters. Carnahan acknowledges it would be a small percentage of eligible voters, but says barring any eligible voters from casting ballots would be wrong.
While the state would provide photo ID free of charge to anyone who does not have a driver’s license or another form of government-issued photo identification, opponents of the legislation fear there would be costs and burdens associated with acquiring the paperwork necessary to prove they are entitled to the government-issued photo identification. Similar legislation was approved in 2006, but was legally challenged and struck down as unconstitutional in Cole County Circuit Court and then by the State Supreme Court.