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.
To pay for implementation, Gov. Eric Greitens has recommended a total of $300,000 for the licenses, IDs and advertisements. While some legislators, most notably Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, and Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, say this is sufficient, other government officials disagree.
… Advertisements aside, the largest unknown stems from the costs of producing IDs and backing documents. While the money needed for radio time and mailings can be calculated eventually, the number of Missouri residents who will apply for free identification is difficult to predict.