Jul 30, 2014
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Should Missouri Require Voters to Have a Photo ID?

Last week, a judge called unconstitutional a ballot measure that would have allowed the Legislature to require photo IDs for voters. New legislation on the issue will be heard Tuesday.

Should Missouri Require Voters to Have a Photo ID? Should Missouri Require Voters to Have a Photo ID?

Should voters be required to present a photo ID before they can cast a ballot?

A Cole County judge recently threw out a proposed ballot question that was aimed at the November election, but state lawmakers are still pressing on the issue.

The measure defeated in court would have amended the Missouri Constitution and required voters to show photo identification at the polls, according to an article in the Kansas City Star.

The article quoted Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce: "Because significant changes are required here and policy choices need to be made as to how to reallocate the words in a revised summary statement, the court chooses to vacate the summary statement and to provide the General Assembly an opportunity to revise it."

Critics of the ballot measure say the wording was convoluted intentionally to make it difficult for voters to understand. "This was not because you don’t know how to read, it was because the language was designed to make it unreadable, hence causing you to err in how you vote," wrote the blog The Indypendent on a post Monday.

"This is a victory for voting rights and it affirms the most fundamental constitutional guarantee for every citizen in Missouri," U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis,  told the St. Louis American in an article last week.

Critics of voter ID measures say the requirement would restrict voter turnout. House Democrats this year said the groups most affected are minorities and the elderly. Supporters say it prevents fraud and increases the integrity of elections.

To that end, Republicans have introduced new language

"Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to create standards for enacting general laws that authorize advance voting, require the use of government-issued photo identification in order to vote, and govern voting procedures based on whether an individual is voting in person or by absentee ballot?"

A hearing on the new resolution is scheduled for Tuesday morning in the Missouri House.

What do you say? Do you think we need a voter ID law to protect the integrity of elections? Are you concerned that the poor or elderly might have more difficulty getting an ID, and therefore become disenfranchised?

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