Missouri lawmakers from both parties see the voter ID issue as far from settled, even as the Republican-controlled Legislature is poised to tighten the state’s requirements after Democrats managed to stall a pair of proposals for about a month. Senate Republicans passed a bill on a 24-8 party-line vote Tuesday that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. A constitutional amendment that would allow that measure to be enacted is still awaiting a vote. Both proposals would go into effect only with voter approval. Missouri Republicans have sought to establish a photo ID requirement to vote for a decade. The state Supreme Court struck down one measure in 2006, saying the cost to obtain the identification was an unconstitutional burden on voters. So this year, Republicans proposed that the state would pay for voters’ IDs. They also proposed changing the state constitution to allow lawmakers to set photo ID requirements for voting.
After Democrats dug in, Republicans agreed to allow people without a photo ID to cast a ballot if they sign a statement saying, under penalty of perjury, that they don’t have the required identification and can show some other form, such as a paycheck or utility bill.
Sen. Will Kraus, the Lee’s Summit Republican who handled the bill in the Senate, said the final proposal isn’t as strict as he would have liked, but the voter statements create a way for the state to collect more information on voter impersonation.
Democrats have said there is no evidence of voter impersonation. Kraus — who is also running for secretary of state — said he expects that after officials begin comparing the signed voter statements against drivers’ license records, “bam … we got proof now.” Despite the changes, most Democrats still oppose the proposals.