Politics
1:17 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Voter Advocacy Groups Say Mo. ID Bills Unfair, Unconstitutional

This week lawmakers in Jefferson City are taking another crack at requiring Missouri voters to show a photo ID when they go to the polls.

Opponents of the bills, however, plan to tell legislators the new standards would be unnecessary and unfair.

Denise Lieberman is an attorney for the voting-rights group the Advancement Project.

This week she’s testifying before both the House and Senate committees considering voter ID requirements and says the proposals are flat-out unconstitutional.

“The photo ID proposals would relegate valid, eligible Missouri voters to second class citizens,” Lieberman says.  

She says that’s because it can be hard for people living in poverty or the elderly to get, for example, a valid driver’s license. 

“We know that these proposals are politically motivated and they’re being promoted by legislators who stand to benefit from photo ID proposals because of the voters who stand to be turned away from the polls if they don’t have a photo ID,” Lieberman says.  

Republican supporters beg to differ, and say voter ID requirements are needed as a firewall against voter fraud.

In 2011, a Republican backed effort that mandated voters have a photo ID cleared the Legislature, but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

This year could be different, though, because Republicans have supermajorities in both the House and Senate, which could allow them to override Gov. Nixon’s veto power.    

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