Two proposals that would require a photo ID to vote have been advanced by a House committee. Representative Tony Dugger (R-Hartville) is proposing a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to approve requiring a photo ID at the polls. A bill sponsored by Representative Justin Alferman (R-Hermann) would set up the structure for voter photo ID if the ballot issue passes.
Opponents say requiring a photo ID would create barriers for voters, especially low-income and handicapped Missourians.
Clem Smith (D-Velda Village Hills) opposes the measures and said at a committee hearing Tuesday that Missouri should get Missouri driver’s licenses in compliance with federal standards first.
“I think we should make sure that our stuff is right. That we’re able to travel about in this country of ours or go into federal buildings before we’re sitting here acquiring this ID that may be worthless in a couple years,” said Smith.
Alferman asked Smith if denying access to people without proper ID into federal buildings should be unconstitutional.
“You have the right to vote in this country, just like you have the right to a trial by jury. If that trial is in a federal building, you have to provide a photo identification to step inside that federal building,” said Alferman.
Alferman questioned the integrity of the election process.
“Based upon the fact that I can go into a polling location with a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement or paycheck and sign a signature, the opportunity to commit voter impersonation under current law is very real,” said Alferman.
Smith told Alferman he doubts any changes are needed.
“So I guess you’ve questioned the election you’ve been in to get to this office, based off of the lack of ID requirements. I mean, all of our elections would be in question,” said Smith.
Representative Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) supports the measures and questioned if those without legal immigration status should be allowed to vote.
“How would we determine whether or not someone is eligible to vote,” said Dogan. “If they’re a non-citizen and they are not eligible to vote, how would we determine that without verifying their identity?”
The measures could be heard by the full House next week.