Carnahan, Stouffer vie for Missouri secretary of state
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Robin Carnahan from Missouri casts her ballot Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in St. Louis, Mo. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis) By Whitney Curtis
Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan waves to supporters after addressing the crowd at a watch party Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo. Carnahan won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) By ED ZURGA
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Republican state Sen. Bill Stouffer announced Friday that he will challenge Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan next year with a campaign built around the need to make voters show photo identification.
Stouffer, who lost a Republican primary for Congress last year, is sponsoring a proposed constitutional amendment and accompanying bill that could require people to show a government-issued photo ID for their votes to be counted. If passed by the Legislature, Stouffer's proposal could appear on the same 2012 ballot as the secretary of state's race.
Carnahan has opposed photo ID requirements as an undue burden on voters. She says Missouri has had no problems with people attempting to impersonate other voters.
Candidate filing for Missouri's 2012 elections does not officially begin for another year. Stouffer declared his candidacy as Republicans were preparing to meet in Springfield for their annual Lincoln Days conference.
Carnahan spokesman Tony Wyche confirmed later Friday that Carnahan plans to seek re-election.
Carnahan, 49, lost a bid for U.S. Senate last year to Republican Roy Blunt. Stouffer lost a Republican primary in the 4th Congressional District to Vicky Hartzler, who went on to unseat longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton.
Stouffer, 63, is a farm owner from the central Missouri town of Napton who served for 16 years on the board of MFA Inc., a farm supply and marketing cooperative. He also previously ran an antique store. Stouffer touted his managerial experience as a qualification for the secretary of state's office, which oversees Missouri elections, regulates securities, handles business registrations and manages the state archives, among other things.
"Providing the best security for our elections is extremely important. I strongly believe in photo ID," Stouffer said.
The Missouri Supreme Court struck down a 2006 law imposing a photo-identification requirement for voters, declaring that it infringed on the fundamental right to vote that is included in the state constitution. Stouffer and other Republican lawmakers believe a constitutional amendment specifically authorizing a photo ID requirement would get around the court's objections.
Stouffer said Friday that he also supports efforts to allow early voting and streamline the business registration process -- two things Carnahan also has supported.
""Robin is proud of her record of cutting costs and red tape for Missouri businesses and of protecting consumers from scam artists and financial fraud," Wyche said.
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