Missouri Voter Photo ID Law
COLUMBIA – The Secretary of State’s office has implemented an initiative called “Show It 2 Vote,” to educate people about the voter ID requirements that go into effect June 1. The initiative focuses on what forms of ID are needed at the polls.
“The law was written to make sure every registered voter has the right opportunity and can vote and that’s what it does,” said Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. “At the Secretary of State’s office, we’re going to make sure it’s enforced in that manner.”
However, some critics of the new law, Amendment 6, are skeptical.
Mary Ratliff, the president of the NAACP's Columbia chapter, has been fighting the law for years. She said it doesn’t take into account people who live in rural areas.
“It is a detriment to the folks that live in rural Missouri,” she said. “The argument is that they’ll do the IDs free of charge. That doesn’t make up for the fact that there are people who live in out state rural Missouri that have to travel just to go vote. They have to travel miles just to get a photo ID.”
Ratliff said the law targets the African-American community.
But according to Ashcroft, the law is more about preventing voter fraud, such as impersonations, absentee voter fraud, people voting more than once and people voting in the wrong jurisdiction. He said those have all been issues in Missouri and the law is a step in the right direction in preventing such actions.
“It’s not everything that we should do and we’re going to do more,” Ashcroft said. “Elections are the most important thing government does because government derives its power and authority from we the people making our own decision and being a part of the process.”
According to the Show It 2 Vote website, there are three ways a registered voter can prove his or her identification:
- Registered voters can show a valid driver’s license.
- If they have an expired driver’s license, they would have to sign a statement that explains they don’t have a valid license and then the state will provide an ID for free.
- People without IDs can vote using a provisional ballot. If their signature on the provisional ballot matches that in the voter registry it will count. Or the person can return at a later time and show a photo ID, and their vote will count.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, if voters don’t have the proper documents to obtain a photo ID (i.e. birth certificate, social security card, etc.), the Secretary of State’s office can help get those documents free of charge.
Voters who want help in this process can call 866-868-3245 or email ShowIt2Vote@sos.mo.gov.