This week the Missouri Legislature will consider bills that would require voters show photo identification when they go to the polls. Opponents of the bills will tell lawmakers the new standards are unnecessary, and unfair.
Denise Lieberman is an attorney for the voting-rights group the Advancement Project.
This week she’s testifying before both the House and Senate committees considering voter ID requirements and says the proposals are flat-out unconstitutional.
“The photo ID proposals would relegate valid, eligible Missouri voters to second class citizens,” Lieberman said.
She says that’s because it can be hard for people living in poverty or the elderly to get, for example, a valid driver’s license.
“We know that these proposals are politically motivated and they’re being promoted by legislators who stand to benefit from photo ID proposals because of the voters who stand to be turned away from the polls if they don’t have a photo ID,” Lieberman said.
Republican supporters of the new photo ID standards say they’re needed to prevent potential voter fraud.
Republican supporters beg to differ, and say new Voter ID requirements are needed as a firewall against voter fraud.
In 2011, a Republican backed effort that mandated voters have a photo ID cleared the Legislature, but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.
This year could be different, though, because Republicans have supermajorities in both the House and Senate, which could allow them to override Gov. Nixon’s veto power.