Mo. House Committee Hears Voter ID Measures

Jan 30, 2013

Republicans in the Missouri House are making another attempt to pass legislation that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. No one testified in favor of the proposal at a House hearing on Tuesday.

Everyone who testified either opposed requiring photo IDs for voting or were neutral.  It would allow anyone who does not have a photo ID to vote with a provisional ballot, which would not be counted until the voter’s identity is verified.  

John Scott with the Secretary of State’s office says that would still repress Missouri voters.

“In the 2012 election, only 25 percent of provisional ballots were counted,” Scott said. “So to say that you aren’t disenfranchising eligible Missourians doesn’t necessarily line up with the facts.”

Committee members are considering two measures:  a bill that would require photo IDs for voting, and a constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to pass the photo ID bill.

Democratic House Member Brandon Ellington of Kansas City testified against the enacting bill. He says it would disenfranchise the elderly, the poor and minorities.

“We’ve seen these new restrictive laws after 2008, which, in my opinion, shows a bias-ness in American society when we have a president of color, and all of a sudden we’re questioning the legitimacy of people’s votes,” Ellington said.

Republican Stanley Cox of Sedalia, a long-time supporter of photo ID requirements, blasted Ellington’s testimony and accused him of calling the bill’s authors and supporters racists.  He also told Ellington that he owed them an apology.  

Ellington says he will not let the proposal come out of committee quietly or let it get onto the floor quietly.  More testimony is scheduled next week.

The State Supreme Court declared Missouri’s 2006 photo ID law unconstitutional.