Mo. Senate and House committee pass photo I.D. requirement for voters | St. Louis Public Radio

Mo. Senate and House committee pass photo I.D. requirement for voters

Feb 15, 2011

Legislation that would require Missouri voters to show photo identification at the polls is advancing in both chambers of the General Assembly.

First, a Missouri House committee this morning passed a resolution that would put the photo ID question before voters as a constitutional amendment, along with a bill that would implement the amendment into state law if passed.

It passed the House Elections Committee on a straight party line vote.  State Representative Tony Dugger (R, Hartville) chairs the committee.

"I think it just clears up any question that might be out there of fraudulent voters," Dugger said.  "Photo ID is required for other purposes, and I think it's only right that we require it to vote."

All three Democrats on the House Elections Committee voted "no," including Stacey Newman of Richmond Heights.

"This is an atrocious, egregious act on the rights to vote in the state," Newman said.  "There was no concern at all by the majority party here on the committee in terms of those who would be disenfranchised."

Dugger disagrees, saying that there are enough exceptions in the two measures to guarantee that no registered voter would be disenfranchised.

Then during the noon hour, the Missouri Senate gave first-round approval to its version of the photo ID legislation.  It's sponsored by State Senator Bill Stouffer (R, Napton).

"There's no way that any of us want to disenfranchise voters, but I think it is appropriate to have one standard across the state," Stouffer said.  "I think it's appropriate that we protect our most cherished right, the right to vote, with a photo ID, so we know that those people showing up at the polls are who they say they are."

The House legislation would also authorize an early voting period before Election Day.  The bills now go to the Rules Committee, and if they pass there, they'll move to the House floor for debate.

The Senate bill does not include early voting.  It needs one more vote by the full Senate before moving to the House.