The legislature has twice passed a measure that requires a photo identification to vote. Twice it’s been struck down. Once by the Supreme Court, once by the Governor’s veto pen. So, they’re trying again.
Sen. Will Kraus (R-Jackson Co.) has presented a bill that would require voters to show a photo identification to participate in elections to the Senate Elections Committee. (Click HERE to see video.)
Kraus says the measure would put the question to voters … Should a photo ID be required to vote? He says that makes it different than the two measures that were either declared unconstitutional or vetoed. Still, Democrat Sen. Paul LeVota (D-Jackson Co.) says it reminds him of a famous movie… “Groundhog Day.” (Click HERE to see video.)
The movie stars Bill Murray as a weather man who is sent to cover Punxatawnee Phil for his television network for the fourth year in a row. He awakens a day later and discovers it’s Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. He wonders how long he will be forced to see the same people do the same thing every single day. (See the trailer at the bottom of this article.)
The Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees the state’s elections, opposes the bill, saying it would disenfranchise low-income and elderly voters, out of state students, and people who don’t drive. The American Civil Liberties Union and a law firm that took the first measure to the Supreme Court also testified against the bill. No one spoke in favor of the proposal.
The legislative black caucus will hold a press conference today to oppose the measure. Representative Stacey Newman, the ranking Democrat on the House Elections Committee, says photo voter ID requirements have nothing to do with fighting election fraud and everything to do with keeping elderly, disabled and minority Missourians from voting.
The bill would put the measure before voters. If approved, it would require a photo ID to vote. It would provide a free photo ID for anyone who couldn’t afford one. But Democrats counter that many people lack not just the funds to get a non-driver license, but also the necessary documentation.
Several other states have passed measures that require voters to show a photo ID to cast a ballot. Many of them are being challenged in court as unconstitutional, saying such laws violate the constitutional right to vote.