A Republican candidate for Missouri secretary of state on Thursday filed an initiative petition that would allow the Legislature to require voters to present photo identification at the polls. St. Louis attorney Jay Ashcroft filed the proposed constitutional amendment with the secretary of state’s office to permit a photo ID requirement. Republican supporters, including Ashcroft’s opponent in the GOP primary Sen. Will Kraus, have pushed to amend the state’s constitution since the Missouri Supreme Court declared photo ID requirements unconstitutional in 2006. Supporters of requiring photo ID at the polls say it would prevent in-person voter fraud and protect the integrity of elections. But Democratic opponents say the measure would make it harder for minorities, women and the poor to vote.
Ashcroft said he supported making it easy for people to get any ID that would be required and said the constitutional amendment would simply allow lawmakers in the future to enact requirements if they chose to do so.
Aschroft entered the race for after current Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, announced a bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Roy Blunt. Kraus, of Lee’s Summit, has introduced measures in the Legislature to place voter ID on the ballot in the Legislature. “This is an important part of protecting our ballot box in the state,” Kraus said. “I support any effort to make voter ID become law in Missouri and I am encouraged to see more and more individuals and organizations join this cause every day.”
Kander opposes voter photo ID requirements. A report he released in 2014 estimated that a House measure to enact photo ID requirements could disenfranchise more than 200,000 eligible voters.