Nationwide, state governments are considering passing or have already passed legislation that would require voters to show photo identification before voting. Last week, the Missouri House spent considerable time debating and then passing two voter photo identification bills. House Joint Resolution 47 (HJR 47) and House Bill 1073 (HB 1073) would both require a photo ID for individuals to vote in Missouri. These two bills are now on their way to the Missouri Senate for its approval. Attempts have been made in our state to pass voter photo identification laws, and our 2006 Missouri’s General Assembly passed the first such law. It was signed by the governor, but ultimately was struck down by Missouri’s Supreme Court as being unconstitutional. Photo identification voting laws have always stirred up partisan party politics, but supporters of this measure — mostly conservative Republicans — contend that photo ID laws are common sense protection against fraudulent voting.
Supporters maintain that photo ID requirements would protect the integrity of the election process and help prevent fraud. They also contend that the current system makes it too easy for fraud to occur, and, unfortunately, it is a reality of life in America that there is voter fraud.
Opponents argue that there isn’t significant evidence of massive voter fraud occurring at the state’s polling places, and they denounce the legislation as discriminatory and an attempt to disenfranchise voters who are more likely to vote the Democrat tickets. Some opponents are estimating that in Missouri, approximately 200,000 citizens will not be able to vote if voter ID laws were to pass. However, there is no way to substantiate these figures, and it is important to note that this legislation has safeguards in place to prevent citizens from not being able to vote if they truly want to. These voting measures would allow citizens to obtain a government-issued ID free of charge. For those born before 1941, they would be able to cast provisional ballots that would require their signature to match the signature on the voter registration in order to have their vote counted.