Politics
5:48 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Mo. GOP Candidates Rally Around Voter I.D.

Voter I.D. laws have been a contentious issue nationwide, with conservatives in many states pushing through legislation to require a form of photo identification to vote.

You can currently vote in Missouri by showing a utility bill or bank statement, but Republican secretary of state candidate Shane Schoeller wants to change that.

At a rally of about 50 conservatives in Fenton, Schoeller held up his photo I.D.

"When you go to the bank, and you present the photo I.D., why do you have a photo I.D.?" Schoeller asked the crowd. "To protect your hard earned dollars. Now why would it make any sense to not protect your vote when you go to cast your ballot?”

Schoeller has been leading the "Show-Me Voter I.D. Tour" across Missouri. Republican Attorney General candidate Ed Martin spoke briefly at the rally, saying voter I.D. laws were just "common sense."

"When I was chairman of the Board of Elections in St. Louis, we saw voter election, registration fraud," Martin said. "We saw people vote on both sides of the river. We saw people that came to St. Louis from outside of our voting jurisdiction - they said we believe you're stealing our votes and my vote doesn't count."

The speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, Tim Jones, and Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann also supported voter I.D. laws at the rally.

But critics of such laws say that they disproportionately affect minorities and the poor, who don’t always have the means to obtain a photo I.D. Schoeller’s opponent, Democrat Jason Kander, has called the proposal extreme and unfair.

A New York Times analysis from 2007 identified 120 cases of voter fraud were filed over 5 years.

It's also unclear how many voters would be turned away by stricter voter I.D. laws. Nate Silver of The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight estimates 2 or 3 percent of registered voters would be prevented from casting a ballot.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

  • See more stories on issues and elections from St. Louis Public Radio, the St. Louis Beacon and Nine Network of Public Media at BeyondNovember.org.