A controversial measure that would require a government-issued photo ID to vote was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday, with the Democratic governor arguing it would act as a barrier against citizens’ fundamental right to vote. It proved to be one of the most contentious items of debate during the 2016 legislative session, reflective of a broader ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans on voter access. GOP lawmakers argue the bill would prevent voter fraud, but their Democratic colleagues said it was a solution in search of a problem. Missouri Democrats fought the issue throughout session, eventually winning some compromises. Under the measure, voters without a photo ID can sign an affidavit at the polls, swearing they are who they say they are under penalty of perjury. Their vote then counts so long as their signature matches the one on file. Other provisions in the bill include exemptions for anyone born before 1946, anyone with a disability and those with religious objections to their photo being taken. Under the measure, the state also foots the bill for the IDs and any documents needed to get them.
Missouri: Nixon looks at whether to veto, sign photo voter ID implementation plan | Daily Star-Journal
Missouri photo voter ID legislation will be on the Nov. 8 ballot, but legislation directing how to implement the measure is still on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk. If voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment, then implementation legislation could come into play. Nixon could sign or veto the measure. In the event of a veto, the Republican-dominated General Assembly could attempt an override.
Year after year, Missouri Republicans try to implement a photo ID requirement to vote. Despite overwhelming legislative majorities, they come up short every time. The GOP has watched voter ID bills vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, tossed out by the courts and bargained away by lawmakers in favor of other legislative priorities. The perennial push began anew this week, with the House granting initial approval to a pair of bills sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger, a Hartville Republican. One bill would ask voters to amend the state’s constitution to allow the state to require a photo ID before casting a ballot. This is a necessary step to overcome a state Supreme Court ruling that deemed a previous voter ID law unconstitutional.
Missouri’s Aug. 5 elections could provide a case study for the ability of governors to affect proposed ballot measures, both politically and legally. Five proposed constitutional amendments will go before voters this summer, instead of during the November elections, because of a decision by Gov. Jay Nixon. The governor’s prerogative is provided for in the Missouri Constitution and has been used by many chief executives over the years to shift measures off the general election ballot and on to the August primaries. Those decisions can carry political consequences and, as a recent court ruling has shown, may also have legal implications. The political ramifications are perhaps best illustrated by proposed Constitutional Amendment 1, which seeks to create a right to farm similar to what already exists with the rights of free speech, assembly and religion.
An early voting measure Missouri lawmakers endorsed Wednesday could wind up competing on the ballot with a more expansive version proposed through a petition drive. The constitutional amendment passed by the Legislature would allow ballots to be cast on six business days ending the Wednesday before an election. In-person ballots would be cast during the regular business hours of local election officials, who would be barred from activities or incurring expenses for early voting unless funding is included in the state budget. The measure states its provisions could not be repealed or invalidated by another constitutional amendment unless that measure specifically references them. The Legislature’s approval means it will appear on the November ballot unless Gov. Jay Nixon sets a different election date.
Bills in the Missouri Legislature could change the dates of two primary elections and the logistics of running those primaries. The Missouri House of Representatives passed legislation, HB 1902, on March 13 that would set the state’s 2016 presidential primary for March 15. That bill, which passed on a 97-48 vote, has been sent to the Senate. Missouri previously held its party primary in February but faced losing some delegates to the 2016 Republican convention because of new party rules. The Republicans only want four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — to hold contests in February. States that hold primaries before March 15 must also award delegates proportionally, not on a winner-take-all basis.
Missouri House Republicans are trying again to enact legislation that would require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots, and they’re hoping the courts or the Democratic governor don’t stand in the way this time. The House gave first-round approval to measures Tuesday that could lead to a voter photo ID requirement. Previous attempts have stalled in the Senate, been vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon or blocked by judges. As they have in the past, Republican supporters argued Tuesday that a photo ID requirement would protect the integrity of elections and prevent fraud at the ballot box. “Unfortunately it is a reality in life and in modern America that there is voter fraud,” said one of the measure’s sponsors, Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia.
The House Elections Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to approve two proposals requiring voters to show government-issued identification before casting ballots. The identical 8-4 votes showed that no Republicans have waivered in their support of the proposals and Democrats remained solidly against them. The votes approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to require identification and a bill to enact the requirements themselves. The committee rejected an amendment to allow college students to use their school-issued identification when they vote. The bill establishing the requirement would allow only Missouri driver’s licenses or non-driver identification cards or other state or federally issued identification that includes a photo and an expiration date. The measures now move to the Republican-dominated House for debate.
In Voter ID: Five Considerations – the lead story in the November / December issue of The Canvass – we predicted that interest in photo voter ID laws would remain high in 2013. This prediction has already been borne out. When we drafted the article, lawmakers in Arkansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin had revived discussion of their states’ photo ID proposals. Since then, a number of other states have jumped in the mix. Here’s a quick rundown of some recent developments on the photo ID front. We’ll be back shortly with the second half of the list. Republican Representative Bob Lynn’s photo ID proposal (HB 162) failed to make it to a vote in Alaska last session, when Democrats and Republicans split control of the Legislature. With Republicans holding their lead in the Alaska House and newly in charge of the state Senate, the proposal is sure to get another airing in 2013. Lynn told the Anchorage Daily News that photo ID will “be one of the first bills we hear.”
The Missouri Supreme Court upheld the state’s new congressional districts Friday, solidifying a Democratic primary fight between two St. Louis congressmen and providing certainty for candidates who weren’t sure which neighborhoods would be in their territories for the August primary elections. A divided high court ruled Friday that Missouri’s eight new U.S. House districts comply with a constitutional requirement to be “as compact … as may be.” The ruling affirms boundaries enacted last year when the Republican-led legislature — with the help of a few Democrats — overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Although some Supreme Court judges dissented, a majority determined that the Missouri Constitution “does not require absolute precision in compactness.” The Supreme Court ultimately deferred to a February decision by Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green, declaring that it was not going to substitute its own judgment for the trial court’s when it came to disputed factual issues about the boundaries.
A Missouri House panel has endorsed legislation that would require people to show a photo ID to vote. The legislation was endorsed Tuesday by a 7-3 vote by the House Elections Committee. Sponsoring House member Shane Schoeller, a Republican from Willard, says the legislation will help prevent people from casting fraudulent ballots.
The perennial fight over whether voters should have to produce a valid ID to cast elections ballots is set to begin. Rep. Shane Shoeller of Willard — who is also running for Secretary of State — has filed a bill that would require a photo ID requirement for voters. He says it’s common-sense legislation.
The measure was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon last year, and the Supreme Court struck down the requirement in 2006. Opponents of the measure say it disenfranchises poor and elderly voters. Nonetheless, Schoeller thinks it will gain approval by the Republican-led General Assembly, and hopes if it does that Nixon will pen the legislation into law.
A major victory for voting rights was handed down on Friday when Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed controversial voter ID legislation. The bill, which would have required a photo ID to vote, was heavily opposed by many state and national groups, including Campus Progress, who joined with over 40 other organizations in signing on to a letter that was sent to the Governor on Friday before he handed down his veto. In vetoing the legislation, Governor Nixon joins Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Mark Dayton of Minnesota who also struck down photo ID bills passed earlier this year in their states. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more on Nixon’s justification for the veto:
“In a letter explaining his veto, Nixon said the photo ID requirement would have hurt senior citizens and people with disabilities who are qualified to vote but are less likely to have a drivers license or other government-issued photo ID. ‘Disenfranchising certain classes of persons is not acceptable,’ he said.”
Voter advocates across the state and nation cheered today’s announcement by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon that he would veto a repressive voter identification bill passed last month by the Missouri legislature.
“Gov. Nixon’s veto of SB 3 protects the rights of all Missouri voters and goes a long way to ensure that all eligible voters are able to cast a ballot,” said Denise Lieberman, senior attorney and Missouri Voter Protection Advocate for Advancement Project, a voter protection group among the dozens of groups who joined to oppose the measure. “The governor’s action today sends the message that no Missouri voter should be relegated to second class citizenship solely because they do not have or cannot get a state ID.”
Voter advocates have been lobbying the Governor to veto the repressive voter identification bill since the legislature passed it during the final week of the legislative session in May. A coalition of 45 organizations representing diverse constituencies sent a letter to the governor urging him to stand up for Missouri voters, and nearly 2,000 voters from across the state signed a petition urging the Governor to veto the legislation.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday vetoed legislation that would have required voters to show photo identification at the polls and allowed some ballots to be cast before Election Day.
In his formal veto message, Nixon said the bill would disenfranchise voters who don’t have access to a photo ID or the documents necessary to obtain one, such as a birth certificate. Specifically, he said access to the ballot box could be limited for seniors and the disabled.
“Disenfranchising certain classes of persons is not acceptable,” he wrote in the veto message. Requiring voters to show a photo ID has been a bitter partisan issue in Missouri and across the country for years. Republicans say the measure is necessary to prevent voter fraud, but Democrats contend it addresses a nonexistent problem while, as Nixon suggested, blocking access to the ballot. Republicans called Nixon’s veto disappointing.
As a candidate, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon denounced a proposed photo identification requirement for voters as an “onerous requirement.”
Now that he is governor, Nixon will have to decide whether to follow through with his earlier convictions and veto legislation that would implement a photo identification requirement. The catch is that the measure is paired with a provision allowing an early voting period before elections — a proposal that Nixon supports.
The politically sticky situation for Nixon is the result of some maneuvering by Republican legislative leaders who for years have sought to implement a photo ID requirement for voters but had resisted efforts to allow a period during which people can cast ballots — with no absentee excuse needed — before the official election day.
If people think all legislative bills are designed to make people’s lives harder, an introduction to Senate Bill 282 should dispel that myth. This new piece of legislation would make it unnecessary for county clerks to go through absentee ballots to make sure no ballot cast by a recently-deceased voter is counted on election day.
Under the old rules, absentee voters, who may have cast their ballot up to six weeks in advance, must be alive when polls open on election day. Clerks had to check obituaries for votes cast by the recently deceased, confirm the death with the Department of Health, then throw those ballots out.
If Gov. Jay Nixon signs the bill, it will be welcome news to Webster County Clerk Stan Whitehurst, who worried that the rules were not always evenly applied.