Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed Senate Bill 3 today, "which would have established requirements for advance voting and voter photo identification for elections," according to Nixon's website.
- An online copy of Nixon's veto letter can be found here.
"This new mandate would disproportionately impact senior citizens and persons with disabilities, among others, who are qualified to vote and have been lawfully voting since becoming eligible to do so, but are less likely to have a driver's license or government-issued photo ID," Nixon said in his veto letter. "Disenfranchising certain classes of persons is not acceptable."
The bill's sponsor, State Senator Bill Stouffer (R, Napton), disagrees with the governor's statement.
“I think those are the Democrats’ talking points," Stouffer said. "We want to know the folks that are voting are who they say they are…we use the photo ID throughout our economy for positive (identification).”
Stouffer also says the bill would have allowed the elderly, disabled, and those who don’t use photo ID’s for religious reasons to use a provisional ballot to vote.
House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) expressed disappointment with the governor's veto, and says, "it is my intent to work with my colleagues to once again override one of the governor's vetoes."
Stouffer says, though, he doesn't think an override attempt will succeed.
Missouri voters, meanwhile, will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment next year to authorize the use of photo ID’s at the polls. But even if voters approve it, it cannot be implemented due to the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 3. Lawmakers would have to pass another implementing bill or override Nixon’s veto.
In our story from June 10, Nixon was mum on the issue:
During his 2008 campaign, Nixon called the requirement "onerous." But he sidestepped a question the MoRx bill signing event in St. Louis today about whether he'd veto the new measure, saying he had not fully reviewed the bill.
"I said what I said, and … obviously we're always trying to work to make voting as easy and efficient for people as possible," Nixon said. "It's an important part of democracy, we like to have people to be able to get to the polls and vote in an organized and appropriate way."
A Missouri judge in 2006 struck down a similar measure as unconstitutional. The new version means a photo ID requirement would not take effect without voter approval.
House Minority Floor Leader Mike Talboy, a Democrat from Kansas City, issued the following statement:
Governor Nixon is to be commended for protecting Missourians' right to vote by vetoing an unnecessary photo voter identification requirement that would do nothing to prevent fraud but potentially disenfranchise more than 200,000 legally registered voters.
House Democrats unanimously opposed this bill during the legislative session and subsequently voted to make sustaining the governor's veto an official caucus position. With House Democrats united on this issue, we are confident that any attempt by House Republicans to override the governor's veto will fail.