It seemed that Missouri Republicans scored a big win when they passed a voter ID law in 2006, but the cheers were short-lived. The Missouri Supreme Court struck down the law on grounds that requiring voters to present photo IDs to vote was at odds with the constitutional right to vote. Every year since, Republican lawmakers sought to amend the state constitution and pass voter ID, yet came up short every time. This year, Republican leadership fast-tracked voter ID, and a pair of bills have cleared the House with an overwhelming majority and await debate in the Senate. “It has been a priority for us in the past, but not to the level it has been a priority this year,” said Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican who has sponsored sponsored voter ID bills for several years.
But success in the Senate is not without roadblocks. Opponents of voter ID laws argue that they potentially prevent marginalized people from voting. Senate Democrats are digging in, and a filibuster is almost assured.
The first House bill would ask voters on the November ballot whether they want to amend the state constitution to allow for photo ID requirements, a move necessary because of the 2006 Supreme Court ruling.
The second bill would only kick in if voters approve the first. It would require voters to show up to the polls with a valid state-issued ID that contains a photo. These include non-expired driver’s and non-driver’s licenses and military IDs, but not something like university IDs.