Missouri panel hears objections to voter photo ID proposal
By Shawn Campbell
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP/KMOV) -- Missouri Republican lawmakers say requiring photo identification at the polls will prevent voter impersonation fraud.
Bill sponsor Rep. Tony Dugger, of Hartville, said during a House hearing on Tuesday that he has included exemptions for older Missourians and a way for those without a valid, non-expired photo identification to get one free of charge.
The bill, which has been debated for a decade in Missouri, would make Missouri one of the strictest states for voter identification.
Only non-expired Missouri or federal government issued ID would be accepted.
Voters must approve a constitutional amendment to allow the state to require photo ID because the Missouri Supreme Court has ruled any photo ID requirement violates individual voting rights.
"You need to show photo ID to buy cigarettes, alcohol, open checking accounts; need a driver's license to drive - so it makes perfect sense," said George Tillman of St. Charles.
"It doesn't seem to be too heavy of a burden to have a photo ID to prove who you are and where you're living and be able to present that before voting," said Leigh Kline of O'Fallon, who also supports the legislation.
Opponents say the legislation seeks to disenfranchise groups who traditionally support Democrats and are less likely to have a photo ID.
"They've already done enough studies to know that the chances are it leans toward the Democrats, maybe 55 percent , 60 percent or 70 percent, but they're not all democratic voters," said Joseph Cernik, a professor at Lindenwood University.
Missouri is currently among the states that are classified "ID requested photo not required". If it becomes law in Missouri, it would join the handful of states that have strict photo ID laws.