Photo ID Bill in Missouri? Controversial Proposal Sparks Voter Suppression Criticism

Newman says that there are 250,000 rightful voters in the state who could be disenfranchised by this effort -- people who have a right to cast ballots and have been doing so, but might not have access to the required photo IDs.

"It is incredulous," she says. "People need to know voter suppression is alive and well in Missouri."

Supporters of the measure argue that photo IDs help prevent voter fraud and that the legislation is set up to help those without IDs obtain proper documentation.

But Newman says it can be difficult to get documents needed and that there is wide acceptance across the country that these measures mostly just burden and disenfranchise legitimate voters.

"I'm going to be asking tomorrow, 'Why don't you care about these 250,000 people no longer able to vote?' What did they do wrong?'" she says.

People who could be impacted by the policy are generally those who do not have driver's licenses.

"These are people who no longer drive or never had a reason to drive," Newman says. "Should people using public transportation in Missouri be considered a bad thing?"

She says it is likely that if Republican leadership push this proposal through, there will be an amendment in the November 2014 ballot.

But Democrats will uniformly oppose, she adds. "We stick together on this."

Here are the draft bills.

HJR 5

House Bill 48

More from our Politics archive: "Guns: Christian County Sheriff Wants to Arm Missouri Teachers, Increase School Safety"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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