Missouri

Articles about voting issues in Missouri.

Missouri: GOP lawmakers reject another push to boost voter photo ID funding in Missouri | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Republicans Tuesday turned back another Democratic attempt to put more money into Missouri’s new voter photo identification law. In a hearing to discuss the state budget, Democratic state Rep. Peter Merideth of St. Louis sought to amend the latest spending blueprint to take $3 million out of the state lottery’s $16 million advertising budget to help finance the implementation of the new voter ID law. “I think $13 million would be sufficient to advertise lottery in Missouri,” Merideth said. The $3 million in lottery money would be added to the current earmark for voter ID of $1.4 million, which would be used to educate voters about the new requirement, as well as help voters without photo ID to attain the documents needed. Read More

Missouri: Voter ID rollout begins amid questions about money and necessity | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

After more than a decade of trying, Republicans resurrected last year a measure to require photo IDs for Missouri voters. The Missouri Supreme Court had struck down the first attempt in 2006, finding the law abridged a fundamental right to vote for thousands without government-issued photo IDs. But before putting a new measure on the ballot last year, GOP supermajorities made some changes. Not only will non-driver license ID cards be free, the documents necessary to apply for them — such as birth certificates or marriage licenses — will be, too. And anyone who can’t get either can still vote with a utility bill, a paycheck or other form of ID accepted previously by signing a statement swearing they are who they say they are. Read More

Missouri: True cost of voter ID law still unknown | Missourian

The cost of Missouri’s new voter identification law is still up for debate, as legislators and government officials present wildly different numbers. Cost estimates range from $300,000 to millions of dollars. Those numbers could grow if a plan to enact the federal Real ID Act of 2005 in Missouri moves forward. The voter ID law, which was passed in Missouri last year, requires voters to present photo identification at polling locations, though if one doesn’t have identification, provisional ballots are provided. In order to ensure that low-income voters are not disenfranchised, the law states that the Missouri government must pay for non-drivers licenses and backing documents — paperwork such as birth certificates or divorce papers needed to obtain an ID. Advertisements are also required to ensure Missouri residents are aware of the changes. The changes take effect June 1. Read More

Missouri: Ashcroft says governor’s offer isn’t enough money for Voter ID | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri’s top election official said Tuesday he’ll need far more money than Gov. Eric Greitens offered in his budget plan last week to effectively implement the state’s new photo ID law before August elections. The law, pushed by Republican legislators and approved by voters last year, requires Missourians to show a photo ID before voting or sign a legal document swearing they are who they say they are. In response to heavy Democratic criticism that it would prevent the elderly, disabled and poor from voting, Republicans also required the state to pay for IDs for those who can’t afford them. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is tasked with letting voters know about those changes, estimated it would take between $1.1 million and $1.5 million to do so in the next fiscal year.  Read More

Missouri: State officials’ next step: Deciding how to pay for voter ID law | St. Louis Public Radio

A majority of Missouri residents said they wanted voters to have to show a photo ID at the polls, and lawmakers obliged. Now, state officials must figure out how to pay for the law, which goes into effect June 1. Gov. Eric Greitens has said the budget to implement the law should be $300,000.  Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said Tuesday that it’ll cost more like $1.5 million. Both of those are far less than the previous administration’s $4.26 million estimate, which Ashcroft said “included some things that aren’t required under the law, like sending multiple letters to every registered voter in the state of Missouri.” Ashcroft didn’t address the disparity between his and Greitens’ proposed funding. Read More

Missouri: Republicans vow to fund photo ID implementation in tough budget year | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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.  Read More

Missouri: Jason Kander criticizes republicans over voter ID | The Kansas City Star

Secretary of State Jason Kander admonished the Republican dominated General Assembly Wednesday over legislation passed last year requiring voters to provide a photo ID before they can cast a ballot. House Republicans responded by ditching a planned resolution that would have thanked Kander for his years of service. Kander, a Kansas City Democrat, has long opposed voter ID legislation, arguing that it serves no purpose and yet could disenfranchise certain voters. After more than a decade of trying, GOP lawmakers successfully approved voter ID legislation last year, and a voter ID constitutional amendment was approved by voters in November. In a speech to the Missouri House Wednesday, Kander said he’s heard that lawmakers are considering stiffening the voter ID law. He warned against taking such actions. Read More

Missouri: Incoming Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft working on voter photo ID | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Although he has not formally taken office, Missouri’s next secretary of state is working to implement a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Republican Jay Ashcroft told the Post-Dispatch Friday that he was in talks with the Legislature to ensure there is enough funding for the voter photo ID law. And, he is crafting guidelines for how it will work if someone shows up at the polls without an ID card. “It’s a big thing to take care of,” said Ashcroft, who will replace Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat. On Nov. 8, 63 percent of Missouri voters favored a change in the state constitution to require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot. For those without a valid form of photo identification, the state will be required to provide an ID for free. Read More

Missouri: Lawmakers move to make ballot selfies legal in Missouri | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri could soon join at least 20 other states where it is legal to take a selfie in the voting booth. Two state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would alter Missouri voting rules, paving the way for people to publicly post pictures of themselves and their ballots without fear of prosecution. “Everybody takes selfies of everything,” said Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City. “Why should someone not be able to exercise their First Amendment rights?” Davis has introduced House Bill 315, which eliminates 27 words in the election code that could be used to prosecute people taking selfies after they vote. Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, has introduced an identical version of the measure in House Bill 249. The proposals come after an election cycle in which questions were raised about the legality of taking ballot selfies across the nation.

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Missouri: St. Louis prosecutor uncovers ‘important evidence’ in voter fraud probe, turns case over to feds | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The city’s top prosecutor said her office “uncovered important evidence” in a voter fraud investigation dealing with an August primary statehouse race that has since been reversed by voters. The case — which centered on the validity of absentee ballots — has now been turned over to the U.S. attorney’s office. In an email with the subject line “Fraud,” a spokeswoman for Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce said Tuesday that based on prosecutors’ findings, “the U.S. attorney’s office has agreed to expand the investigation at Joyce’s request.” U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan confirmed his office had been monitoring the investigation since it began in late August. “But in recent weeks, they asked us if we would assume responsibility for the main role, and we agreed,” Callahan said. Callahan declined to offer any specifics about when the investigation might conclude. Read More