Missouri Republicans are committed to funding the rollout of a voter-approved photo ID law taking effect this year, even as declining tax revenue and growing Medicaid costs have led to a budget shortfall of nearly $500 million. The law requires Missourians to show photo identification before voting, or sign a binding legal document that says they are who they say they are. But it also requires the state to foot the bill to provide photo identification to anyone who doesn’t have one and wants one, absorbing the costs of any documents needed along the way, including birth certificates, divorce decrees, marriage licenses, social security cards or naturalization papers to prove citizenship. Without sufficient funding for those costs, the personal identification requirements “shall not be enforced,” the law says.
But while the estimated cost of implementation ventured well into the millions, Gov. Eric Greitens has only recommended about $300,000 for the changes in his proposed spending plan, which he unveiled on Thursday.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican whose office is tasked with paying fees involved in getting photo IDs to voters, said the process is just beginning.