“after 5 hours of contentious floor debate over the course of the afternoon and evening in the Missouri House of Representatives, Missouri lawmakers approved legislation to require voters to show Photo ID to vote.
“These measures stand to relegate thousands of Missouri voters to second-class citizens.
“Legislators gave conditional approval to a proposed constitutional amendment to allow photo ID as well as legislation that would severely limit the forms of ID acceptable at the polls to only current Missouri or federal photo ID, most typically a non-expired Missouri-issued driver’s or non-driver’s license. The measures fall hardest on senior citizens, veterans, the working poor, African Americans, people with disabilities, students and rural Missourians who are more likely to lack a non-expired Missouri ID or have difficulty accessing the underlying documents necessary to get one.
“Rep. Stacey Newman, ranking minority member on the House Elections Committee and leading opponent of the legislation, said, ‘We are hearing story after story of people who have been voting just fine for a number of years and will no longer be able to vote. In my book, that’s voter suppression.’
“’This is the single most immoral act that I’ve ever seen happen in my time in the General Assembly,’ Rep. Chris Kelly said during yesterday’s debate, according to a report in the Springfield News-Leader.
“Lawmakers approved similar legislation in 2011, which was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, as well as a similar constitutional amendment, which was struck from the ballot following a lawsuit by Advancement Project, the Fair Elections Legal Network and the ACLU.
“The current measures will go to the Senate after third reading in the House today.
“A fact sheet on MO’s 2013 Photo ID proposals can be found at: http://b.3cdn.net/advancement/9da603f747aa8f2b2b_3om6bxs1q.pdf“
I spoke to Denise about gaining permission to repost this email, and she responded enthusiastically and offered the following:
She is encouraging people to read the fact sheet on the bills, which can be found at: http://b.3cdn.net/advancement/9da603f747aa8f2b2b_3om6bxs1q.pdf
Also, she said in terms of next steps, we are looking at:
- urging folks to contact their Senators when the measures start to move in the Senate. Right now, the bills are not scheduled for hearing.
- We are looking for folks to submit Letters to the Editor expressing their views on these proposals.
- Finally, we are looking for stories of people affected by Photo ID. These can be people who do not currently have a non-expired Missouri ID — students who have driver’s licenses from other states; seniors with expired IDs — or those who would have difficulty getting an ID because of difficulty getting the underlying documents necessary to get one, like a certified birth certificate, or a marriage license from another state or a long time ago; or those whose documents may have errors; or those who, due to cost or mobility, would have difficulty getting to the various offices and paying for the various underlying documents. We are trying to get the word out about that too.
Let me know if you need any further information or resources.
Denise Lieberman, Senior Attorney
Missouri Voter Protection Advocate
1220 L Street NW, Suite 850
Washington, DC 20005
Cell: (314) 780-1833
Statements in this article do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.