Missouri House passes voter ID bill

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JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Representatives voted Wednesday to send a voter ID bill to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.

House Bill 1631 would require Missourians to show a photo ID when voting. The measure would not go into effect unless voters approve a constitutional amendment.

Senate Democrats allowed the bill and a constitutional amendment to get initial approval Monday, after about a month of stalling. Republicans agreed to allow people without photo ID to cast a ballot if they sign a statement saying they don't have the required identification and can show some other form of ID, such as a paycheck or utility bill.

Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer said he believes ID should be required.

"I'm in favor of being able to identify the voter," Korsmeyer said. "So, if you had a photo ID, then you know the person standing before is the person that's voting." 

Korsmeyer said, as far as he knows, there has not been any voter fraud in Cole County.

He said he thinks the legislators need to "kick the can a little farther down the road" to figure out how the bill would affect people who don't have photo IDs. 

"We don't want to disenfranchise anybody," Korsmeyer said. "We want everybody to vote." 

He said he has friends without a driver's license.

"They don't drive," Korsmeyer said. "So, I'm not sure they even have photo ID, so who's going to pay for that voter ID? Where's the money going to come from to get them the voter ID? So, I think they need to look at the big picture overall." 

Rep. Judy Morgan, D-Kansas City, is against the bill. 

"The reason why the supporters say we need it is because of what they call 'voter fraud,'" Morgan said. "And, basically, they can't give us an example of actual voter impersonation fraud. That's the only type of voter fraud a photo ID will be used for." 

She said the measure would disenfranchise some groups of voters.

"I think most of the research shows folks that will primarily be affected will be African Americans, groups of other minority communities, disabled and the elderly," Morgan said. "I think what we have in existence now is more than what we need." 

(Editor's notes: This story has been updated with results of the House vote.)