Mo. House committee hears voter I.D. legislation | St. Louis Public Radio

Mo. House committee hears voter I.D. legislation

Feb 8, 2011

Critics lined up today at the Missouri Capitol to speak out against legislation that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

A similar law passed in 2006 was struck down by the State Supreme Court.

Among those speaking against the measure was Ron Sergent of the AARP Executive Council in Missouri.  He called the photo ID proposal a "feel-good cause" that would disenfranchise 230,000 Missouri voters.

"It (would) disproportionately affect racial minorities, seniors, people with disabilities, and those who earn less than $30,000," Sergent told the House Elections Committee.

No one testified in favor.  But the sponsor, State Representative Stanley Cox (R, Sedalia), said that people  have to show a photo ID in order to cash a check or board an airplane.

Ron Berry with the Secretary of State's office told the committee that current state law is strong enough to deter voter fraud at the polls.

Cox argued otherwise, "You think it's strict to allow that identification be made by use of a utility bill?"

Berry responded, "I think that the requirements under the state of Missouri's identification requirements for voting, are (among) the strictest ones that you'll find in the country."

"Including utility bills?" Cox asked again.

"That is an approved identification," Berry said.

A vote on the photo ID legislation is expected next week.