While Republicans across the state look to pass legislation on photo voter ID laws (or get it on the ballot via petition in the case of Secretary of State candidate Jay Ashcroft), two house Democrats have a different idea concerning voter accessibility. Reps. Randy Dunn, D-Kansas City, and Kimberly Gardner, D-St. Louis, have both put forth separate pieces of legislation which would enable automatic voter registration based on driver’s license information instead of the current independent registration process. Dunn, speaking only for his own bill, hopes this bill boosts voter turnout by removing certain hoops that must be jumped through by individuals to become registered voters. “For me, I believe we need to be engaging as many people as possible in the political process,” Dunn said. “This is one vehicle to make sure we are getting more people registered.”
He also denounced attempts by some lawmakers to inhibit the voting process for certain people. He denounced attempts to pass photo voter ID laws; Democrats have contended that such laws disenfranchise minority and urban voters.
“There have been attempts over the last couple of years to do just the opposite to stymie individuals from exercising the right to vote, and I think that’s the exact opposite of what we need to be doing,” he continued. “It’s almost like people are trying to pick who the voters are instead of voters deciding who their representatives will be.”
How both bills would essentially work is simple: the secretary of state’s office would use the data present on driver’s licenses, which includes address and subsequently voting location, registered via the Department of Motor Vehicles and transfer it into the voter registry.