Members of the Missouri House want to take another run at requiring Missouri voters to display photo identification to vote.
The voters would decide the issue. HJR 64 is proposed amendment to the state constitution. If it passes the legislature, it goes to a vote of the people.
Rep. John Diehl, a Republican from Town and Country, says there’s an easy explanation for the push by Republicans to institute voter photo ID.
“I’d say it makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Diehl tells reporters. “I mean that’s kind of the bottom line.”
Democrats claim that requiring photo identification to vote would disenfranchise the poor, the elderly and the disabled, which they contend would have trouble obtaining proper identification.
Democrats also counter that wide-spread voter fraud hasn’t been a problem in Missouri. Diehl acknowledges it is difficult to determine the extent of voter fraud, but he says there is evidence voters have submitted fraudulent absentee ballots.
“There’s no doubt, there’s no issue in this state that groups have submitted hundreds, if not thousands, of fraudulent voter registration cards,” Diehl says. “Why else would you do that but for to vote them at some point?”
The resolution sponsored by Rep. Stanley Cox, a Republican from Sedalia, would place a voter photo ID proposal on the ballot. He says it’s needed.
“Not only give integrity to the voting system, but also give people confidence that there is something to trust that when you cast your vote it’s going to count fully,” according to Cox.
By going the ballot route, supporters hope to address concerns raised by the Missouri Supreme Court that struck down a voter photo ID requirement in 2006, by making it part of the state constitution. Sponsors also say they have carefully researched the issue to comply with a United States Supreme Court ruling that upheld a voter photo ID requirement in Indiana.
Other portions of the election legislation approved by the House, HB 1966, would establish a four-day, no-excuse absentee balloting period prior to Election Day. It also streamlines the process used by military personnel overseas when casting a ballot, making it easier for the military to participate in elections.