Despite the lack of evidence that there is a need for photo voter ID, the idea is again being pushed in the state legislature and appears headed for the November 2010 ballot. Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, using some loaded language, affirmed her support of photo voter ID in her latest capital report.
In her column, Mrs. Davis hints that "van loads" of illegal aliens will come into Missouri to vote, saying, "None of us should want to see our elections subverted by van loads of people rounded up and herded into our polling places to vote illegally."
We are about to give the nickname “Show-Me State” additional meaning by requiring photo identification to vote (HJR 9). Other states already require this, and it is time for us to join them in protecting the election process. Apparently, some out-of-state callers have attempted to alarm people, telling them falsehoods with grave distortions about this proposal. There is nothing to fear. In an effort to correct misinformation you may hear, I offer you these facts:
Currently our election process is vulnerable to fraud because anyone can use a simple utility bill as identity. A utility bill is not enough identity to board an airplane, get a credit card or do banking in our country. Offering a photo ID when voting, such as a driver license, would eliminate the likelihood of others claiming to be who they are not.
Some of my constituents stated that these callers have told them that the state was taking away the right to vote from seniors and low-income individuals. This proposal does not take away anyone’s right to vote.
Our proposal will place the question to the voters by putting it on the November 2010 ballot as a constitutional amendment. If the House and Senate pass this proposal, the voters will decide if they want to show photo identification when they vote. If approved, the language will go into the Missouri constitution. The last time the legislature passed a photo identification law, our own Missouri Supreme Court said it conflicted with the Missouri constitution, so this measure will correct that problem.
The proposal heading to the House floor will also make voting easier by expanding hours when people can vote and by allowing people to vote in advance of the Tuesday election without any particular reason. The authenticity of the voter must also be verified through a government-issued form of identification. This could be a driver license or a passport. For those who do not drive, the state of Missouri will make a photo identification available free of charge. The bill also automatically exempts anyone over 65 years old from the photo requirement.
None of us should want to see our elections subverted by van loads of people rounded up and herded into our polling places to vote illegally. Our election authority finds bogus registrations every year. If we wait for more egregious scenarios to occur before we act, we will have let down our constituents who trusted us to keep the process clean. Every system is tested by cheaters at some point, and it behooves government to protect our innocent citizens.
Honest people want integrity in our elections. If nothing suspicious is happening, why be afraid of verifying who is voting? Turning our elections into a free-for-all will prevent us from ever electing worthy or honorable people to correct the corruption. Our country was made great by our virtuous conduct and our willingness to hold people accountable to a definable standard. The final vote on this bill is still weeks off, but if you should get one of those phone calls, don’t believe all you hear. We are simply trying to secure the election process for the citizens of Missouri by ensuring that all voters are legally qualified to vote. Good government demands that we be fair and principled.