A Senate committee heard legislation Monday that would require voters to present a form of state-issued photo identification at the polls. The bill and accompanying ballot question are being sponsored by House Elections Committee Chairman Tony Dugger and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Stanley Cox, both Republicans. “As long as people aren’t eligible to vote, I don’t want them to vote,” Cox said. Similar bills have been filed in recent years in the state legislature. Still, none of the policy’s supporters said they knew of a case of voter fraud in the state. Crystal Williams, with the ACLU, said the issue has hardly ever been voter impersonation fraud, which supporters of voter ID requirements say the policy aims to prevent. “Most of time what we’ve seen has been voter registration fraud, not voter impersonation fraud,” she said.
While Dugger’s bill would allow military service members to use their forms of government issued identification to vote, the provision would not apply to students and their state-issued forms of student identification.
“If you look at the way student ID’s are obtained, you could be a student ID at any university. I do not think they meet any of the qualifications that are needed,” Dugger said. “They don’t have enough information on it.”
The bill was opposed on Monday by organizations like the NAACP and the ACLU, both of which believe minorities and low-income Missourians might be negatively effected by the bill. Denise Lieberman, a voting rights attorney from St. Louis, said 220,000 currently eligible voters might be rendered ineligible by the bill.