This House Election Committee listened to more than two hours of testimony over HB 48 and a proposed constitutional change to identification required to vote in the state.
The bill states that to vote in Missouri a person must have a valid drivers license, non-drivers license, any identification issued by the Missouri National Guard, Veteran’s Affairs, or the Armed Forces. If the resident is eligible to vote but does not have an acceptable form of identification the state would be required to issue one at no cost.
Those born before 1941, those with disabilities or who are handicapped and those with religious exemptions, would not have to adhere to the new statue. Those voters would be able to cast a provisional ballot at their polling place, where the signatures can be verified. Those with no identification and who are not exempt could still cast a provisional ballot and then return to the county clerk’s office within three days with proper identification to have their vote counted.
Representative Tony Dugger (R-Hartville) sponsored both HB 48 and HJR 5 and says he filed the measures out of concern for possible voter fraud.
A former county clerk, Dugger said he knows the possibility for fraud exists. “In the 14 years that I was county clerk, every time
that you would mail these voter ID cards out, I would get someone who would come into my office and bring me some cards and say, ‘These got delivered to my mailbox. I have no idea who they are’,” he says. “They don’t know who they are but their cards ended up in their mailbox, and it happens in every election. There’s just that chance out there that somebody could take that card, and that’s a form of ID that could currently be used … and vote with it.”
The bill allows anyone who is not able to produce proper identification to still place a provisional ballot at the polling place. However, opponents of the bill said that is not good enough.
“We all know those provisional ballots do not get counted,” said Stacey Newman (D-Richmond Heights).
Secretary of State spokesman John Scott said in the 2012 election only 25 percent of provisional ballots were counted.
Bill opponents said the legislation would disenfranchise as many as 250,000 Missouri voters.
No one testified in favor of the two proposals. The committee has not voted on any of the Voter ID measures as yet.