Last year, Missourians voted in favor of passing legislation that will require voters to present a government issued photo ID at the polls starting June first. Supporters of the new law say it will prevent potential voter fraud. Cape Girardeau county clerk, Kara Clark Summers breaks down what you need to know about it.
I’m here in the KRCU studios with Kara Clark Summers, hello Kara.
So you are our voting expert. You administer elections in the county and handle voter registration. And coming up in our next elections, new legislation requires citizens to bring a photo ID issued by the government. So first off, what do citizens need to know before they head to the polls and how will the process be different from past elections?
Well Lindsey, first of all, this law was a law that voters passed last November . They voted on, this and passed it and it takes effect June first of this year. So June first, 2017 this new law will go into effect. So, what they need to bring to the polls now is a non-expired driver’s license, a non-expired non-driver’s license, a passport, or a military ID. They only have to have one of those forms, but they do need to have one of those forms of a photo identification with them when they go to the polls to vote after June first.
Alright. So l know you can’t specifically speak on behalf of the legislation, but from your experience as county clerk, what problems or difficulties during elections does that solve or improve, if it does?
I mean, I don’t want to speak on behalf of those legislators, but there were people there that thought to prevent voter fraud, this would be a second measure for people to have a firm way of knowing the identification of somebody that comes to the polls. And I’m all about making the elections more secure, but we don't want to hinder anybody from voting either. So I think this gives options for people.
Was there anything else complicated that people would need to know about?
Well, I just think getting the information out to the voters to make sure they have the acceptable forms of identification to vote is very important, because we want to make it easy on our people in the county to vote. I just want to make sure to get this information out to our voters and if they have any questions they can contact our office. But there are provisions to the law if they do not have one of those forms. There are other provisions, because we want to make sure that people are allowed to vote when they come to the polls if they’re a registered voter.
What do people do if they don’t have their photo ID at the polls?
So if somebody comes to the polls and they do not have their photo ID, they can sign a provided statement attesting that they do not have a photo ID on them, and they can present one of the following forms that I’m getting ready to mention and they can still vote. So if they brought in their voter identification card that we send them, an identification from a Missouri university college or technical school, a current utility bill, bank statement, or government check, or other government document with their name and address on it, they could provide one of those forms of ID and sign the statement. And they still would be allowed to vote if they were a registered voter. And the law allows for a provisional ballot to be voted if they didn't possess a photo ID or have one of the other forms of identification. And then, as long as the signature matched the signature on the provisional ballot envelope, that vote would count.
Gotcha. So voters can’t be turned away at all?
A voter could not be turned away, unless they were not registered to vote. Also important: the secretary of states office is helping people to obtain a free non-driver's license for the purposes of voting, and they have a dedicated hotline for this.
So what do people need to get that?
At the driver's license office, they would have to have proof of name date of birth and place of birth your social security number- you could verbally say that or present the card- and proof of your Missouri residential address. So that could be your utility bill, paycheck, other government check. But if you needed help in obtaining your birth certificate or some other form of identification allowable by law, the Secretary of states office is willing to pay for that and help you to do that.
Alright wonderful! Thank you for coming in today.
Okay, thanks so much.
Cape County Clerk: (573) 243-3547
"Show it 2 Vote" Secretary of State hotline: 866-868-3245