Sunday, August 07, 2011
Lembke: Gov. Nixon blew it when he vetoed photo ID law
In his latest column. Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis, explains why the veto of the photo ID law, one of many non-job related bills that passed during a session which was supposed to emphasize jobs but didn't, was a bad idea.
On Sept. 14, 2011 the Missouri General Assembly will return to Jefferson City for the annual veto session. Unlike most recent veto sessions, lawmakers will have a number of bills to consider for override. Probably the most controversial and well-publicized bill vetoed was the voter ID legislation.
In June, the governor vetoed Senate Bill 3, claiming the photo ID requirement would "disproportionately impact senior citizens and persons with disabilities, among others, who are qualified to vote and have been lawfully voting since becoming eligible to do so, but are less likely to have a driver's license or government-issued photo ID."
Senate Bill 3 was to have formed the framework if Missouri voters were to approve photo ID, as spelled out in Senate Joint Resolution 2. Both of these measures passed with bipartisan votes in the Missouri Senate and House. The constitutional amendment will be on the November 2012 ballot, even if the veto is not overridden on SB 3.
A photo ID would not be required to vote until after the November 2012 election. If the governor's veto stands, there would be no way to enact the amendment. Any costs associated with implementing the new law would be subject to appropriations. In other words, there would be no secret or hidden costs.
If somebody lacks a photo identification card when they are at the polls, they would be able to cast a provisional ballot, as long as their signature matches what is on file with the election authority. This would apply to people whose religious beliefs are against photo IDs, those who would be unable to afford documents needed to get a photo ID, physically and mentally disabled Missourians and Missourians born before 1941.
The governor also says the cost of obtaining a government-issued photo ID came into question. In fact, approximately 95 percent of Missourians already have an acceptable form of photo ID. For those who do not, a provision of SB 3 would provide an ID for free.
An acceptable form of photo ID includes:
•Non-expired Missouri driver's license;
•Non-expired non-driver's license;
•Any identification containing a photograph, as issued by the Missouri National Guard, the U.S. Armed Forces or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs;
•A document issued by the United States or the state of Missouri containing the name of the voter that substantially conforms to the most recent signature in the individual's voter registration records, a photograph, and an expiration date — or if expired, the expiration is after the date of the most recent general election.
A lot of time and negotiation was put into this legislation by senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle. It took compromise and commitment to finally craft and pass bills that would keep voting fraud at a minimum and secure voting for those who actually have the legal right to cast their ballots. I am sure that these vetoed bills will be considered during September's veto session.