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After debating into the wee hours of the morning Wednesday, the Senate hit an impasse on legislation that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
Senate Democrats held a press conference to claim victory after their filibuster blocked a vote on voting legislation.
They say they'll continue to block the bill so long as Republicans insist on requiring voters to present photo identification for the election this fall.
Democratic Senator Victor Callahan of Jackson County opposes the bill.
The provision that requires voters to present a photo I-D has drawn sharp criticism from democrats.
Callahan says many elderly people no longer drive and no longer have photo identification.
He says asking them to present a photo I-D at the polls puts an undue burden on them.
The senate laid aside the election bill with an amendment pending that would let anyone over the age of 70 cast a provisional ballot if they're unable to present a photo I-D.
Supporters of the bill say they hope that requiring voters to present a photo I-D, they'll reduce fraudulent voting.
The sponsor of the legislation is Republican Representative Delbert Scott, whose western Missouri district includes Polk and Dallas counties.
Scott says in negotiations with Senate Democrats, it became evident that there was one main sticking point: the date that the photo I-D requirement would take effect.
Republicans say they support making it a requirement for this November's general election.
But Democrats say they oppose implementation of the requirement anytime before 2008.
Scott says there's no reason for delay.
Democrats say they oppose such an immediate implementation of the photo I-D requirement.
Democratic Floor Leader Maida Coleman says she believes Republicans are trying to make it difficult for the poor, elderly and disabled to vote, something that could impact the U-S Senate race between Democrat Claire Mc-Caskill and the Republican incumbent Jim Talent.
Republicans say their intention simply is to reduce fraud beginning with the next general election.
Besides the actual photo identification requirement, Democrats say they worry about another provision that would prevent any state court from extending the hours that polls are open, something that happened in St Louis in 2000.
Democratic Senator Victor Callahan says in cases when there's natural or manmade disaster on election day, courts should have the ability to hold open the polls.
That's the state supreme court.
The bill sponsor, Republican Senator Delbert Scott says he's willing to include a provision that would allow a high court to hold open the polls in the case of a statewide natural disaster.
Scott says the voting bill won't come up again until after Spring Break, which begins this Thursday.
He says the senate will move on this bill, even if it means using a rare procedural maneuver to shut off debate and force a vote.
The bill is up for first round approval in the senate.