MO Statehouse
5:13 pm
Thu February 24, 2011

Mo. Senate passes photo I.D. requirement for voters

The Missouri Senate has passed a resolution that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

The proposed constitutional amendment was passed without debate along party lines, with all seven Democrats voting "no" and all Republicans present voting "yes."

It now goes to the Missouri House, where Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka) says it could be debated as early as next week.

"Both chambers are looking for a compromise this year," Jones said.  "I'm excited, I think it's amazing they sent us their version in February, and I'm looking forward to a compromise that gives us a good, solid piece of legislation."

The House version of the photo ID legislation would also authorize an early voting period before Election Day, while the Senate version would not.

The Senate sponsor, Bill Stouffer (R, Napton), says he's open to the concept of early voting, but isn't sure it should be attached to the photo ID issue.

"I think we need to look at it," Stouffer said.  "I think there's a demand in the public for some form of early voting, but until we see how it comes out of the House I'll kind of reserve comment, but it deserves a look."

The Democratic Secretary of State, Robin Carnahan, is a strong supporter of early voting.  However, she also strongly opposes requiring photo ID's for voting in Missouri, saying it would disenfranchise more than 200,000 voters.

An official from her office has testified against the photo ID requirements being proposed this year.