JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KMOX) - A House elections committee is expected to take up — and possibly send to the full House — a constitutional amendment that would require Missouri voters to show valid, state-issued photo identification before they can cast full ballots in the state’s elections.
Republicans have pushed similar bills for several years, with last year’s version passing the House but dying in the Senate. But the elections committee is to hear testimony Wednesday on measures that could advance further because Republicans in the House have a majority that is nearly large enough to overcome a potential veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.
The GOP controls 109 seats in the chamber and would need just one more to override the governor. The party is expected to pick up that seat in a special election that will be held in early April to fill a seat in southwestern Missouri.
Republicans argue that requiring photo identification will prevent voter fraud and say that such credentials are already needed to do many everyday things, such as rent a movie from a video store.
But Democrats, as well as advocates for the disabled, the elderly and for minorities say that the law would effectively block those voters from the ballot box by requiring them to provide documents they don’t have, such as a birth certificate, or by imposing prohibitive costs, such as transportation to a state license office or the cost of a day off from work to get the identification.