Voter ID bill passed Thursday

10 months 2 weeks 6 days ago January 21, 2016 Jan 21, 2016 Thursday, January 21 2016 Thursday, January 21, 2016 2:27:00 AM CST in News
By: Jake Schnierow, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday requiring photo identification to vote in elections.

In an attempt to curb election fraud, the bill requires voters show a state or federal-issued photo ID. 

Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, bill sponsor, said, "Voting is the purist form of participation that we have in a democracy. We need to make sure that we hold that to the highest ethical standards."

One of the bill's co-sponsors shared Alferman's belief that eliminating election fraud was important.

Rep. Rebecca Roeber, R-Lee's Summit said, "When they say voter fraud is minimal, anything is not OK with me. If you wipe out my vote, that's just not OK. We think the voter ID will solve that problem."

Representatives who oppose the bill argue requiring photo IDs disenfranchises voters. In 2009, the Missouri Secretary of State's office estimated around 253,000 voters would not be able to obtain the correct identification required to vote. 

"We have made sure that every precaution has been taken to make sure that those who are legally allowed to cast their vote, can obtain the source documents and the photo ID at no cost to the individual," Alferman said. 

Earlier in the month, Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, said, "Let's be clear: There is no issue of voter impersonation in the state of Missouri. This is a solution in search of a problem."

The bill includes a fiscal note of $10.7 million, which is based off the 2009 numbers from the Secretary of State's office. The money will be used to pay for educating the public and for issuing the proper identification to those who cannot afford it. 

"We legally can't bind future legislators to make sure that they appropriate the money," Alferman said.

"100 percent of the cost is paid for. We do not want to disenfranchise a single voter in the state of Missouri."

The House passed the bill and it will now move to the Senate. The public would also have to vote on the bill.

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