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.
The committee held a hearing on the constitutional amendment, which if approved would appear on the ballot in August or November. A hearing on the bill implementing the requirement was held Tuesday. The legislation, if approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Jay Nixon, would not take effect until voters approved the constitutional amendment.
Supporters of the proposals called them reasonable protections to prevent voter fraud. Opponents said the measures would make it difficult for women and minorities to vote because of the burdens of collecting the paperwork needed to obtain a state-issued ID.