by J Scott Christianson, Columbia Daily Tribune Columnist
In this final week of the 94th General Assembly, its Republican leaders are pushing through a so-called voter ID measure, which would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot come November.
Doing so is no easy task. First a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution must be passed to make a voter ID law legal. This is a required step because the Missouri Supreme Court struck down a previous voter ID bill because it violated Missouri’s Constitution. All amendments to the constitution must be approved by the voters, so the Republican majority has rewritten that section of the constitution and is planning to put its changes to the voters during the August primary election.
Simultaneously, a voter ID bill that would take effect after August but before November is being rushed through the legislature. If lawmakers are not able to get this step completed in the next few days, the governor seems prepared to assist by calling the General Assembly into special session over the summer to pass the measure.
I’m sure you’re thinking that such urgent action must be driven by rampant voter identification fraud occurring throughout the state. Nope. In fact, there is not even one example of voter ID fraud that House Speaker Rod Jetton, Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons and Gov. Matt Blunt can point to to justify their frenzy to erect an additional requirement for voting. Not one single example.
Now, there are several examples of fraudulent voting in Missouri. Examples I can find include paying someone to vote, voting in two states in the same election and absentee ballot fraud. But requiring voters to present a Missouri photo ID at their polling place will do nothing to address the known examples of voter fraud.
What will it do? Well, judging from the results of last Tuesday’s Indiana primary, it will effectively bar a number of legitimate voters from casting a ballot. You see, all this recent action was triggered by a voter ID bill in Indiana that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Last month, that court ruled that states could require voters to present a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot.
Indiana’s May 6 election was the first to be held with the new requirements for a government photo ID. As a result of this requirement, at least a dozen elderly nuns, several recently married…