Missouri’s secretary of state is moving forward with educating citizens on a new voter ID law that went into effect earlier this month. This comes as opponents are claiming the legislation makes it more difficult for people to vote.
Last November, 63 percent of Missourians approved Amendment 6, also known as HB 1631. The amendment requires a photo ID to vote. The state must assist voters without a photo ID in obtaining a free non-driver’s license for the purpose of voting.
Missouri is one of 33 states which have instituted similar initiatives. Supporters say it is aimed at preventing voter fraud. Citizens in southwest Missouri will vote for the first time under the new law as early as August.
Two groups have sued Secretary of State John “Jay” Ashcroft in an effort to reverse the photo ID law requirements. Both the Advancement Project and American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of the NAACP and League of Women Voters, respectively, say the voter ID law is a way to discriminate against voters.
During a rally earlier this week, Springfield’s NAACP Vice-President Marlon Graves told the Springfield News-Leader, "The new law is born into the tradition to suppress other people... We look to (Secretary Ashcroft) to implement every effort to make sure that each and every person who is entitled to vote to be allowed to do so with the dignity and respect they deserve."
Judge Jon Beetem, a Cole county circuit judge, denied the plaintiffs' request to temporarily block HB 1631 while he hears the lawsuit against it.
On Wednesday, Secretary Ashcroft posted to social media, “…our office remains steadfast in the mission to aggressively defend Missouri's new photo voter ID requirements. We will continue our efforts to uphold the law, educate Missourians, work closely with local election authorities, and train poll workers.”
In August, those registered in Polk, Dallas, Laclede, Cedar, Hickory, St. Clair, Pettis and Benton counties will choose a new senator to replace Mike Parson, who was elected lieutenant governor last year. The new law will also apply to voters in Fair Grove and Republic when they consider tax measures on the ballot.
According to the Missouri secretary of state’s website, acceptable forms of photo ID include Missouri driver’s license or non-driver’s license, U.S. Passport or Military ID.
Voters can also “sign a statement confirming their identity” and provide a paycheck or bank statement. Missouri law encourages those who do not retain any form of identification, but are registered to vote, to cast a provisional ballot.
More information can be found at the secretary of state’s website here, which provides information on how to apply for and receive a photo voter ID. You can also call toll-free at 1-866-868-3245.