Missouri’s new voter ID requirements take effect Thursday, June 1.
In September, the Republican-controlled Legislature overrode then-Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto of a bill requiring a photo ID to vote. 63 percent of Missourians then voted to approve a voter ID constitutional amendment in November. That was constitutional amendment six.
New Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) emphasizes that if you are registered to vote, “you can vote.”
“If you were allowed to vote under the other old law, you’ll be allowed to vote under this law,” Ashcroft says. “If you’re registered to vote, we want you to vote, you can vote, and if you’re not registered to vote, give us a call, we want to help you get registered.”
Ashcroft will begin a statewide informational tour on Monday, June 5.
During a detailed interview with Missourinet in his office at the Kirkpatrick Building in Jefferson City, Ashcroft emphasized that if you voted in the last election, you can vote.
Ashcroft says that if voters don’t have a government issued photo ID, they can bring things such as a current utility bill or a current paycheck or bank statement to the polls.
“But if you use one of those (forms), we’re going to ask you to sign a statement that says you understand under Missouri law you’re supposed to use a photo ID to vote. There’s no penalty, and that you don’t have a photo ID. And that you understand that we’ll get you one for free to vote.”
Ashcroft says voters who lack photo IDs or current paychecks or utility bills will still be able to vote, and will receive what’s called a “provisional ballot”.
Photo ID has been a controversial issue at the Missouri Capitol.
In addition to former Democratic Governor Nixon’s 2016 veto, outgoing Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) used the January 2017 opening day address in the House to criticize House Republicans over photo ID.
Kander told the House in January that photo ID bills can disenfranchise voters, adding that if they follow the example of Wisconsin and North Carolina, he would “see them in court”.
State Rep. Justin Alferman (R-Hermann), who sponsored photo ID, blasted Kander’s January speech, tweeting that “voters have spoken, you’re (Jason Kander) wrong.”
A new group called the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition held news conferences Wednesday in St. Louis and Kansas City, saying that the new photo ID law represents an effort to make it harder to vote.
Secretary Ashcroft disagrees with that, emphasizing that he wants more people involved in the voting process. Ashcroft tells Missourinet his office has reached out to all Missouri lawmakers, Democrat and Republican, about the new law.
“We’ve asked every legislator, every state senator, every state representative, not only to help us to get out the word to individuals that if you’re registered you can vote but also to help us register their (district) constituents,” Ashcroft says.
Ashcroft’s office has additional information about the issue at www.showit2vote.com.
He encourages anyone with questions, or anyone who needs help obtaining documents, to call his hotline phone number, which is (866) 868-3245.
Ashcroft, who was elected in November, campaigned on rebuilding confidence in elections and restoring relationships with local election authorities.
Click here to listen to Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth’s 11-minute interview with Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, which was recorded on May 30, 2017 at the Kirkpatrick Building in Jefferson City: