Legislators propose bill requiring photo identification to vote

Missouri’s lawmakers are renewing the debate over whether to require voters to present photo identification to vote.

In order to change photo identification requirements for voters, it must be authorized in the Missouri constitution with an amendment first.

The public hearing of the amendment was completed, but time ran out before the hearing of the bill could be completed. Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, who sponsored the amendment, said voters can show as little as a utility bill for identification when they go to the polls.

The amendment is necessary to protect against fraudulent voters and protect the voting process, Cox said.

“We have an expectation that our vote is going to count,” he said. “One vote for every person who votes and so when people vote who are not eligible it diminishes all of our votes.”

Opponents of this bill say it is fighting a nonexistent problem. Denise Lieberman, a Washington University political science and law professor, said she didn’t like the way the hearing went. Lawmakers favoring the proposed bill and amendment ran out the clock intentionally, she said.

“I think it’s a particularly damaging message to send to young people who’ve come to this state for their education; who’ve registered to vote here, who are becoming good, active, responsible citizens in this state,” she said.

Lieberman said the bill would punish those already eligible to vote and there are more important matters lawmakers should worry about, such as the budget.

The public hearing of the bill will continue next Tuesday.

– Missouri Digital News