by Arianna Poindexter
Missouri voters would be asked to decide whether voters must show a government-issued photo ID in order to vote.
The measure was given first-round approval by the House Tuesday, Feb. 25. The House then gave first-round approval to a companion bill that would impose the requirement if the constitutional amendment were approved.
The implementation bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville, said this is the only reliable way to prevent voter fraud.
“There are Missouri counties with abnormally high voter rolls. Many, 90 percent of the population of the county, even one county that has 105 percent of registered voters,” said Dugger. “The only way to truly verify one’s identity on election day is with a photo ID.”
Opponents argue the bill will disenfranchise inner city and minority residents.
Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said he believes the real purpose of this bill is to prevent older black women from voting.
Kelly also asked the bill’s supporters to cite instances of voter fraud in Missouri.
“I think, if you’re going to support a bill that’s going to disenfranchise 220,000 Missourians, you should be able to name a single instance,” said Kelly.
Rep. Mike Lair, R-Chillicothe, said he could not show any evidence because it is a “secret case.”
The bill was passed along party lines with not one Republican voting against the measure nor one Democrat voting in support.
The legislature had placed a similar constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot. Legal challenges tied the measure up in the courts, thus blocking the issue from being submitted to the voters.