The ballot measure was passed last year by the General Assembly and is scheduled to go before Missouri voters in November. If approved, it would clear the way for lawmakers to pass enabling legislation to require voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Tony Rothert is an attorney with the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. He calls the ballot measure misleading.
Rev. Al Sharpton is joining Missouri Congressman Lacy Clay in opposing efforts to require voters to show photo IDs at the polls.
Last year, Republicans in 38 states introduced legislation that would require a state-approved photo ID to vote. Seven states have since signed it into law.
Sharpton joined Clay in St. Louis Friday at a voter rights forum to oppose a similar law from passing in Missouri. “We've got to turn this around," Sharpton said. "And start targeting in Missouri those legislators that are targeting our right to vote,” he said.
Before the vote, Democrats hammered away at Republicans’ arguments that the bill would combat voter fraud, saying there hasn’t been a documented case of voter fraud in decades – and that the bill does nothing to deal with voter registration fraud. State Representative Todd Richardson (R, Poplar Bluff) disagreed.
Democrats and Republicans remain deeply divided over the issue: The 104-54 vote split along party lines, with every Republican present voting “yes,” and every Democrat “no.” Supporters argued that the bill would help prevent voter fraud. But State Representative Leonard Hughes (D, Kansas City) countered that the bill is unnecessary.
House leaders had intended to hold a first-round vote on the measure Monday, but it was delayed because of the large number of Democrats who spoke against the bill. Joe Aull (D, Marshall) used former Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton (D) as an example of how he says some elderly citizens could be disenfranchised by the bill. Aull says Skelton attempted to get a photo ID for himself after the 2006 voter ID law was passed, but he was turned down.