Missouri House members took action this week to reinstitute a voter ID requirement that was approved by more than 60 percent of Missourians in 2016. Lawmakers gave first-round approval to a bill that would bring clarity to the requirements that were gutted by a Missouri Supreme Court decision in January.
It was in 2016 that the legislature approved legislation to require voters to present a valid photo ID at the polling place or sign an affidavit and present some other form of identification. That same year voters also approved a constitutional amendment to authorize the voter ID law. A lower court ruling put the law on hold, and then in January 2020 the Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling, which found the affidavit portion of the law unconstitutional.
The bill approved by lawmakers would remove the affidavit requirement and instead give voters without a valid photo ID the option to cast a provisional ballot. Individuals who cast a provisional ballot would need to sign a statement saying they will return to the polling place the same day with a valid ID in order to have their vote counted. They would also have their vote counted if their signature on the ballot matches the signature that is on file with election authorities.
Supporters say the bill is designed to protect the integrity of Missouri’s election system. They say the provisional ballot language will ensure no one is turned away at the ballot box for not having proper identification. Proponents also say the bill is crafted to be as simple and clear as possible so that everyone who is registered can vote and the elections are fair and trustworthy.
The bill now awaits a final vote in the House.
As always, it is an honor to represent you!
Representative Allen Andrews, District 1, Missouri State Capitol, Room 407, 201 West Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65101; Telephone: 573-751-9465; Allen.Andrews@house.mo.gov
Allen Andrews is the First District State Representative.