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Early voting, photo I.D. legislation gets hearing


By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Legislation that would require Missouri voters to show photo identification at the polls and allow early voting received a hearing today before a State Senate committee. And everyone who testified spoke against it.

Elections officials objected to the early voting provision, calling it an unfunded mandate. Peggy McGaugh is past President of the Missouri Association of Counties. She testified that whenever the state authorizes a new service, the counties usually wind up paying the bill.

"Same thing with prisoner per diem: We're housing your prisoners, we started out with an amount years ago that would actually pay to feed prisoners, and now what we have is a 1958 reimbursement level that just doesn't cut it," McGaugh said.

Also testifying against the bill was Rich Lamb from the Secretary of State's office. He says requiring photo I.D.'s at the polls would disenfranchise 230,000 Missouri voters.

State Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) argued with Lamb that photo I.D.'s would combat voter fraud.

"Okay, I come in and I say, 'I'm Suzy Q,' and I'm not Suzy Q...how are you going to make sure?," Cunningham said. "And you're saying that vote should count?"

Lamb answered, "You would have that affidavit on file that if there was an issue, local law enforcement or whatever the proper enforcement officials would be could take that and use for prosecution, if needed."

The Senate Elections Committee is expected to vote on both the voter I.D. and early voting provisions this week, possibly on Wednesday.


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