The following is unedited text from the weekly report of Missouri Representative Shelley Keeney, District 156. Legislative reports are shared as a service of the Farmington Regional Chamber. The opinions expressed in legislative reports are that of the individual legislator and do not represent an endorsement by the Farmington Regional Chamber.
House Members Approve Photo ID Legislation
The House took action this week to pass legislation intended to protect the integrity of the voting process by approving HJR 1 and HB 30. One is a proposed constitutional amendment and the other a statutory change that would put in place a requirement that voters show photo identification before casting their ballots.
This is an issue that has been debated in Missouri and in other states for years. In fact, Missourians had a voter ID bill signed into law in 2006 only to see it later struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court. Since that time, the legislature has continued to work on the language with the goal of finding a compromise which would require voters to prove their identity before voting — without disenfranchising Missourians who don’t already have a photo ID for their other transactions.
The legislation passed this week is meant to address the primary concern of critics by providing a government-issued photo ID at no charge to anyone who doesn’t already have one as well as a way to obtain a free copy of their birth certificate, which is required for a government-issued ID. In addition, those who cannot obtain an ID and those born before 1950 who may not have the necessary documentation may vote a provisional ballot.
As we forward these pieces of legislation to the Senate, we will do our best to work toward a compromise with our colleagues in that chamber so that we can move these bills all the way through the legislative process.
Questions raised during debate included — is it important to require a photo ID to vote just as we require photo IDs to pick up a prescription, board a plane, obtain a government subsidy, or cash a check? Or do you believe a photo ID requirement would serve as a barrier to prevent Missourians from voting?
Keep in mind that the proposed constitutional amendment will ultimately require a vote of the people in order to be approved into law.