Missouri Sec. of State calls misinformation about Voter ID "despicable"

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COLUMBIA - The Voter Identification requirement for the state of Missouri took effect Thursday, nearly seven months after voters passed it by a large margin.

The amendment passed in the November election with an overwhelming approval of 63 percent by Missouri voters; however Kate Canterbury with CoMo for Progress said she was disappointed the vote passed. 

"It’s addressing a problem that doesn’t exist," Canterbury said. "Voter fraud is a myth. There’s been so few cases of it that’s it’s basically a statistical anomaly."

She believes the amendment is a way to disenfranchise some voters. 

"It’s happened in our history as poll taxes and to me this is just a modern day poll tax," Canterbury said. 

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said the new law is far from voter disenfranchisement. He said everyone has the opportunity to vote.

"We have to combat the misinformation and the groups that are intentionally confusing Missouri voters," Ashcroft said. "I find that despicable."

 According to Canterbury, about 5 million dollars total will be spent on the amendment. 

"A ton of money was spent on misleading advertisements to get this passed," Canterbury said. 

Ashcroft said the state has appropriated 1.6 million dollars for the amendment. The costs will go toward providing free IDs to those who need them, free birth certificates, and to the secretary of state's office to compensate obtaining out-of-state documents. 

An Associated Press article published on June 1 stated that Ashcroft said free identifications will not be ready in time for St. Louis' special election in July.  Ashcroft said the report was inaccurate. 

"What I said was I didn’t think everyone would have an ID for the election because we don’t necessarily know who has one," Ashcroft said. "As soon as people let us know they want one, we’ll help them get one."

However, Canterbury said she fears the new ID requirement will hit close to home. 

"We have another special election in the Mid-Missouri area coming up in August," Canterbury said. "I’d hate to think that people do not get to vote in that election because of a law that didn’t need to happen."

Starting Monday, Ashcroft will tour the state to educate voters on the new law. He will make more than 25 stops, including Columbia. Ashcroft will be at the Boone County Government Center at 801 East Walnut at 8 a.m.