South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Committees approve legislation that would change voter requirements

A bill passed by the state Senate and House elections committees on Tuesday would require Missourians to have a state issued photo ID in order to vote.

In 2006, the Missouri Supreme Court declared a similar law requiring photo IDs to vote unconstitutional. This time, Republicans in both the House and Senate are proposing putting an amendment about photo identification in the state constitution.

The Senate added several amendments and then gave the legislation first round approval.

The House Elections committee approved the bill after hearing nearly two hours of testimony from opponents. The committee vote fell along party lines with seven Republicans voting for and three Democrats voting against the bill.

Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, the Senate bill’s sponsor, said that photo IDs are already a standard in society.

“It just brings about integrity of our voting. We’re not trying to suppress any votes, we’re not trying to create any problems,” Stouffer said.

Republican Rep. Stanley Cox agrees with Stouffer and said it is not unreasonable to ask Missourians to have a photo ID. He also says stricter voter identification laws will prevent voter fraud.

“The idea that someone might be able to manipulate the system either through identification or otherwise is a reason that causes people not to want to participate,” Cox said.

Denise Lieberman, an attorney for the voter rights advocacy group Advancement Project, says the bill would create unnecessary obstacles for Missouri voters. She says it would prevent some eligible voters from casting a ballot.

“Missouri already requires voters to show ID. Missouri already has one of the stricter voter ID laws in the country. What we are talking about is actually limiting the acceptable forms of ID to a very specific state issued ID,” Lieberman said.

Sen. Robin Wright-Jones, D-St. Louis, also opposes the legislation but anticipates the bill will pass. She said the bill would be a burden to some Missourians.

“There’s no point in us putting this burden back on our citizens. We wound up in court before, and we have not resolved that,” Wright-Jones said.

– Missouri Digital News