Missouri citizens may one day have to present government-issued photo ID at the polls in order to vote.
There are efforts underway in the Missouri House this year to pass voter ID legislation.
“I’ve had many people question why we don’t have some form of photo ID,” said Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door, the county’s chief election official.
People must present an ID at the bank to cash checks, she noted.
She would have to study the bills that have been filed before she made any comments on specific legislation.
However, in general she said she would “prefer to see some form of (photo) identification.”
It is hard to say if a photo ID bill will pass this year since it is a “partisan issue,” Door added.
“In the past because of the party affiliations nothing happens,” Door said, adding that there has been a push for voter ID across the United States for four years. “It could happen.”
She does not think requiring photo ID would be a barrier to a person’s right to vote, especially if there is no charge for the person to get the identification.
But she would not be surprised if there were lawsuits if a voter ID bill passed.
Currently, voters in Franklin County are only required to present the election notice cards that Door’s office mails to voters.
“Anybody can take that white voter card that I send out, I mean anybody could get that,” Door said. “We’re not asking for anything else. How do my judges know that’s really the person that’s wanting to vote?”
She does not know of any voter fraud that has occurred locally, but there is a concern it could happen.
“As elections continue to go there are speculations out there that there is or could be voter fraud,” Door said.
If photo ID is required, election judges are going to have to be trained to determine if an ID is valid, she said.
Voter ID Legislation
House Joint Resolution 1 says that voters may be required to present valid government photo ID to identify themselves as a citizen of the United States and a resident of Missouri.
House Bill 30 states that valid forms of ID to show at the polls could include a non-expired driver’s license, nondriver’s license, or another photo ID issued by the state or federal government.
Under that bill, people who appear at a polling place without the proper photo ID may execute an affidavit stating they do not have an ID because of an inability to pay for a birth certificate or other supporting documentation.
Even if the Legislature passes the measure the voters would still have to approve it.
People could get the required identification at no cost if they could not afford to acquire the ID on their own, the bill adds.
If funds are available, the state would provide at no cost the birth certificate of a person who needs the document in order to obtain an ID to vote.
If state funds are unavailable to pay for the documents, then the photo ID law could not be enforced.
The bill also says that people who show up at the polls without an ID can cast a provisional ballot that would be counted if the person returned to the election authority within three days with the proper ID.