Republicans Tuesday turned back another Democratic attempt to put more money into Missouri’s new voter photo identification law. In a hearing to discuss the state budget, Democratic state Rep. Peter Merideth of St. Louis sought to amend the latest spending blueprint to take $3 million out of the state lottery’s $16 million advertising budget to help finance the implementation of the new voter ID law. “I think $13 million would be sufficient to advertise lottery in Missouri,” Merideth said. The $3 million in lottery money would be added to the current earmark for voter ID of $1.4 million, which would be used to educate voters about the new requirement, as well as help voters without photo ID to attain the documents needed.
Republicans on the House Budget Committee, however, rejected the attempt, arguing that lottery money is supposed to either support the lottery or go to education.
“I think the amendment runs contrary to the Constitution,” said Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, who chairs the panel.
In addition, Steele Shippy, deputy chief of staff for Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, said the $1.4 million currently set aside for photo ID adequately covers what the law is calling for. “We are meeting all requirements of the law,” Shippy said.