According to a new law, effective June 1 Missouri voters must have state-issued photo ID in order to vote. In the November 8 election, voters passed Constitutional Amendment 6, which authorizes photo ID requirements at the polls. In a May 31 press conference organized by the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, a group of over 30 nonprofits and public servants, questions were raised both about whether this law is ethical and about how it will be implemented. The rule will be effective in the elections this upcoming July and August, which will include a St. Louis City aldermanic election on July 11, and special elections for one Missouri House and one Missouri Senate seat on August 8.
Though the law requires every voter to have a state-issued photo ID, it also requires the state to pay for photo ID for those without one. At the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition press conference, however, several public figures and activist groups suggested that with the lack of public education and lack of funding, this measure will keep registered voters away from the polls.
In 2006, the Missouri legislature attempted to pass a similar photo ID bill, which was ruled unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court because of its restriction of the voting rights of the over 200,000 Missourians without government photo ID – those people being disproportionately African-American, female, poor, seniors or disabled. Now, in 2016, this measure seems on track to move unobstructed into law.