Voter ID Bill Heads to House Floor: Missouri's Most Partisan, Divisive Legislation?

Opponents argue that voter ID unfairly burdens lawful voters, some who have been voting for decades but don't have a driver's license -- because they don't drive. And voter ID bills across the country have been slammed as right-wing ploys to suppress the votes of those who tend to vote for Democrats.

Missouri Capitol, wiki.jpeg

Cox scoffs at the idea -- which he says has heard over the last month from opponents -- that the bill is racist. The legislation, he says, "is designed to protect white and black voters alike from disenfranchisement through cheating."

And it has nothing to do with the election off the president, he adds.

"I filed this bill before Barack Obama was even president," Cox says.

On both sides, there are questions about the price tag of implementing such a policy -- given that the bill includes provisions to help legal voters get IDs if they don't have them.

Representative Sue Entlicher, a Republican and chair of the House Elections Committee, says she will probably vote in favor of voter ID requirements, given her experience as a county clerk.

"It's...been in the news for years and years and there's good arguments on both sides," she says, noting that there are problems in the system and possible legislative fixes that could help prevent improper votes.

But, she adds, "It's costly. It's another job for somebody to take care of.... It just depends on what we [want] pay for."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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