(In his latest report, Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, explains his stance in favor of photo voter ID.)
Unfortunately, in recent years there have been several instances of election voter fraud which have occurred in Missouri. In the 2008 Presidential election, an Illinois man was prosecuted for voting for president in both Missouri and Illinois and ACORN workers were charged and convicted of election fraud in Kansas City. Voter fraud is not a mythical issue. Our State has a long history of voter fraud, especially in the urban centers. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its majority opinion upholding Indiana’s voter identification law a few years ago, recognized that flagrant examples of voter fraud are real and can affect the outcome of a close election. If we continue to let this problem go unchecked, our election process could be threatened and legitimate voters can be disenfranchised.
Elections are the lifeblood of democracy, and the reality that some individuals endeavor to cast multiple ballots threatens the promise of “One Man One Vote”. For this reason, it is our duty as members of the Missouri House of Representatives to protect the integrity of our elections and the sacred principles on which they are based. Because of our desire to safeguard your vote, the Elections Committee of the Missouri House of Representatives is currently considering legislation that is designed to protect your vote by requiring photo identification at the polls. House Bill 48 and House Joint Resolution 5, whose primary sponsor is Representative Tony Dugger, District 141, and House Bill 216, sponsored by Stanley Cox, District 52, if approved, will require that voter present a photo identification in order to vote on election day.
Photo identification is required to open a bank account, buy Sudafed, rent a movie or board a commercial airplane. It seems reasonable to me to require that same level of identification when a citizen casts a vote. These measures are designed to protect Missourian’s fundamental right to vote. Our current law relating to voter identification is very weak and is subject to manipulation by the dishonest few who cheat in elections.
Critics of this legislation to mandate photo ID argue that requiring voters to show a photo ID will suppress the vote of the elderly, minorities and poor citizens, keeping them from the polls. They say that these groups are less likely to have photo identification, and it is more difficult for them to obtain it.
In an effort to alleviate these concerns, this legislation allows all citizens without the proper photo identification to obtain a non-driver’s license free of charge from the State at their local license bureau. It also exempts the elderly, some of whom were born before birth certificates were readily available. However, if the voter cannot afford to pay for the documentation required to obtain an ID, they can still vote by casting a provisional ballot which will be counted once the election authority verifies that the voter is who they claim to be. These bills are designed to protect our electoral process by denying ineligible voters the opportunity to cheat and at the same time ensuring that all eligible people are allowed to vote.
A couple years ago Governor Nixon vetoed legislation very similar to House Bill 48 and House Bill 216. If this legislation passes this year, I predict another veto and a likely veto override. Because of a Missouri Supreme Court decision several years ago, these statutes will not go into effect until Missouri voters approve an amendment to the Missouri Constitution which would be considered by voters in 2014. This is the reason that the legislature is considering the House Joint Resolution 5.