A Missouri Senate panel heard legislation Monday that would require voters to show photo identification at polling places amid warnings from the state’s top election official that 220,000 registered voters would no longer be able to cast ballots if the measure passes. Similar measures have been passed in other states, but they have faced legal challenges. And Missouri’s previous efforts have failed in the courts. The measure’s sponsor told the Senate Elections Committee that Missouri needs to require voters to show a government-issued ID to preserve the integrity of state elections. “We need to make sure everyone’s vote counts. It should be one person, one vote and without an ID requirement we can’t make that happen,” said sponsoring Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit. Opponents contend there’s no evidence of massive voter fraud and that such measures disenfranchise voters.
Parties involved in an appeal over the language of a state amendment for judge appointments wait as the deadline to prepare general election ballots approaches. The western division of the Missouri Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday regarding an initial ruling by a Cole County judge that does not change the original ballot summary penned by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. The summary will ask voters on Nov. 6 if they want to give more latitude to the governor in appointing members of the commission that nominates judges for the Missouri Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Eight Missouri residents filed a lawsuit challenging the language.
On Nov. 7, 2000, hundreds of St. Louis voters were unable to practice that most cherished of constitutional sacraments. They were turned away from the ballot box, told their names had been placed on the city’s list of inactive voters.
House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, calls that incident pivotal in two of his recent decisions — his introduction of legislation to require voter identification and to run for Missouri Secretary of State. “I think that’s when I began to understand the importance of having a secretary of state who truly wants to make sure your elections are fair and honest,” Schoeller said Friday during a stop in Cape Girardeau.
Voter advocacy groups and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit challenging a proposed state constitutional amendment that would allow photo-identification requirements in Missouri elections.
State lawmakers passed the proposed amendment in May, placing it on the November 2012 ballot for ratification. If voters approve the measure, lawmakers will be empowered to require future voters to show a state-issued photo ID at the ballot box.
Currently, voters can prove their identity with one of several documents, including a utility bill or bank statement.
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan should send U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Somewhere in West St. Louis County, a thank you note.
The six-term representative just helped Ms. Carnahan make her case against the scourge of voter identification bills like the ones that the Missouri Legislature passed last month. The argument against such proposals is that too many eligible voters — Ms. Carnahan estimates more than 230,000 of them — do not have the requisite up-to-date drivers licenses to properly vote under such laws.
One of them, apparently, is Mr. Akin.