Election forum debates pros and cons of Voter ID

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COLUMBIA- The League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County held an open election forum Tuesday night to discuss issues on the November 8th ballot.

The forum featured candidates from both parties in State Representative races and addressed presented speakers to talk about ballot issues including Constitutional Amendment 6, "Photo Voter ID".

This proposal require voters to present a federal or state-issued ID in order to cast a ballot.

Supporters of the measure say this would prevent voter fraud. Opponents say voter fraud does not exist and approximately 230,000 Missourians would be disenfranchised by this amendment. In addition, it would cost the state approximately $16 million over three years to implement. 

Brian Smith spoke against the amendment, saying it would be a big step back for the State of Missouri if this proposal gets approved.

"It was targeting certain populations like people of color and low income voters, also senior citizens, in other case with people with disabilities," Smith said. 

Smith also said some college students do not have a Missouri drive license, which will discourage them from voting. 

Fred Berry, who spoke in favor of the amendment, said he's concerned about election and voter integrity.

"They really do provide a lot of protection for voters," Berry said. 

Peggy Placier, the core president of the Columbia-Boone County League of Women Voters said the pro and con speakers play an important role in giving people ideas from different viewpoints.

"We have generally favored making voting more accessible, making it easier for citizens to do because we have a very low participation rate in this country," Placier said.

The group's second forum will be on Wednesday, October 19.

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