The effort to legalize voter photo-identification cards in Missouri has been slowed by the future of technology.
Senator Bill Stouffer of Napton has two approaches. First, he wants voters to approve a constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to pass the second part of his plan—a requirement that voters show picture identification at the polling place.
But Senator Tim Green of Spanish Lake worries that photo IDs might be obsolete soon. He notes that a fitness club he uses back home identifies him with a fingerprint, not a photo ID. He doesn’t want to see constitutional language that won’t be applicable—perhaps soon. “Photo ID five years down the road might be a thing of the past,” he says. Green says he already is being identified by his fingerprint at a health club at home
Stouffer suggests even fingerprints might become things of the past before long. Green and Stouffer both acknowledge the use of retinal scans of the eyes in some security situations, and foresee a time when that technology might expand to a polling place. Stouffer admits he doesn’t want a proposal so specific that it would, in effect, outlaw more advanced identification techniques in the future. “The idea is to be sure that when you show up to vote that you’re the person that voted,” he says.
Neither Stouffer nor Green could figure out a generic phrase that could cover all forms of advanced means of identification. Stouffer has put his bill aside until somebody comes up with one.