For the second time in as many weeks, Missouri Republican senators paused debate on a contentious voter ID measure after Democrats stalled a vote on the bill. Last week, GOP senators paused debate on the bill after Democrats held the floor for about three hours. At the time, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said that the bill would come up again. On Monday, Democrats held the floor for two hours before state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit and Senate bill sponsor, asked that the bill again be laid over. The bill would require that Missouri voters show a photo ID before they cast ballots. But Democratic opponents argue that this will mean trouble and confusion for an estimated 220,000 Missouri registered voters who lack a photo ID.
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, cast the voter ID debate as a civil rights issue, saying that the law would disenfranchise African Americans and minorities. She has also said it would make it harder for students, older people and poor people to cast ballots.
“What is this really about?” Nasheed asked state Sen. Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, D-Kansas City. “It’s about suppression and it’s about rolling back the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Curls responded. “And whether the members of this chamber feel as if that’s their personal intent, that’s the intent of this national movement.”