Opening Words from Sun. October 2 by Kayla Vaughan

Good morning. On November 8, Missouri Voters will decide to accept or reject a mandatory photo ID requirement for voting . This ballot initiative is Amendment 6 and, if passed, will amend the Missouri Constitution to permit the State of Missouri to require that voters produce a state issued photo I.D. before being allowed to vote. Our state legislature has already passed the enabling statute which cannot go into effect if Amendment 6 is defeated. I urge you to vote no on this ballot proposal and to tell your friends and neighbors to VOTE NO ON 6.

Constitutional amendments should not be used to narrow or restrict constitutional rights! It is an example of turning a thing on its head—aneffort to change our state constitution to allow the state to restrict rights.

For several decades those who wish to make voting more difficult for certain populations—specifically the poor, particularly the elderly, rural and African American poor—have been very busy in many states trying to pass voter suppression laws. These efforts lead to a voter suppression victory in 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down 2 key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in the case Shelby County v Holder. In just the first year following this decision, Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi passed laws requiring photo ID in order to vote. It may not seem like a big deal to require a photo ID to vote, however, many people do not have a government issued photo ID. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office estimates that more than 200,000 registered voters in Missouri do not have government issued photo IDs. There is no reason to restrict the voting rights of these 200,000 plus people. We do not have a problem with voter fraud. The recent local election problem involving absentee ballots, the invalidation of an election result and the need for a special election had nothing to do with voter fraud. The absentee ballots were accepted unsealed by the board of elections which violated the law. There was never even an allegation of voter fraud.

Voting is a constitutional right! We cannot allow our state constitution to be perverted by the passage of Amendment 6.

The End Racism committee here at the Ethical Society is organizing 3 nights of phone banking. We will be calling registered voters urging them to vote no on Amendment 6. Please sign up after Platform on the sheets in the foyer.

NOTE: The ideas and opinions in this post do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.