The decade-long effort to require photo IDs in Missouri voting booths is once again under way in the General Assembly, although it’s unclear if the chances are any brighter. State Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville, is once again the chief sponsor of the two-pronged campaign to mandate government-issued photo IDs at the polls. “I am 100 percent sure that voter impersonation fraud is taking place in the state of Missouri,’’ he said a hearing Tuesday before a House committee. State Rep. Stacey Newman, D-Richmond Heights, is among the opposition leaders who say there’s been no proof of such fraud. They say that Dugger is targeting certain groups of Democratic-leaning voters – including students and minorities – who are less likely to have the types of photo IDs his legislation requires.
The photo ID backers are more confident about their chances this year, since Republicans – the leaders of the effort — amassed larger majorities in the General Assembly in the November elections. Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, has said that roughly 200,000 Missouri voters lack the types of photo IDs that Dugger’s bill would require.
… The earliest such a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment could be held would be in 2016, a presidential election year. That means that even if voters approved the photo ID mandate, it likely wouldn’t go into effect statewide until 2018.
The General Assembly first passed a photo ID mandate in 2006, but it was tossed out by the Missouri Supreme Court as unconstitutional. Since then, annual efforts have failed to put a photo-ID constitutional amendment proposal before voters.