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22 June 2011

Kraus: Photo ID Legislation Vetoed by Governor

Last session, the Senate passed legislation, Senate Bill 3, requiring voter photo identification in Missouri and also allowing for early voting. There was a sense of accomplishment in passing this bill that would preserve the integrity of the voting process in this state.

Unfortunately, Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed that legislation, obstructing our legislative efforts to make it tough on those who want to cheat while still maintaining easy access for all Missourians to vote. I was very disappointed in his decision.

In his veto letter, the governor said that the law would be hard on senior citizens and persons with disabilities because they would be less likely to have a driver’s license or government-issued photo ID. However, the legislation addressed this potential problem.

The legislation stipulated that those without a photo ID would have been allowed to cast a provisional ballot as long as their signatures matched those on file with the election authority. This stipulation would have applied to:
  • Missourians born before 1941,
  • Physically and mentally disabled Missourians,
  • Individuals unable to pay for documents needed to obtain a photo ID,
  • Citizens with religious beliefs against photo IDs, and
  • Missourians whose license had been confiscated after an arrest or summons.
In addition, the governor commented on the cost of obtaining a government-issued photo ID, if needed. However, several forms of acceptable ID were listed. About 95 percent of Missourians already have an acceptable form of photo ID. We use those IDs for the simplest of transactions, such as renting a movie or cashing a check. For those who don’t have one, SB 3 contained a provision that would have provided a free photo ID.

Senate Bill 3 was contingent on the passage of a constitutional amendment establishing voter photo identification for elections, advance voting, and voter registration requirements.

To meet that contingency, the Legislature also passed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which provides for a constitutional amendment to allow requiring a person to show a valid, government-issued photo ID to vote, as well as to allow early voting eleven days in advance of the election date. This resolution goes directly to the voters for a vote, so, regardless of what the governor did, the people of Missouri still have a chance to register their opinion at the ballot box.

Even if SJR 2 were passed by the voters, though, the General Assembly must still pass legislation such as SB 3 to require a voter ID. At this point, we have the option of bringing SB 3 back up during veto session to see if we can garner enough votes to override the governor’s veto. Or, we will have another chance next year to get this legislation on the books. I’ll continue to work to make photo ID a requirement at the voting booth.

District Activities

Natural disasters are taking their toll all over Missouri. Last Friday, I travelled to Levasy to help fill sand bags to lessen the potential Sibley-Levasy flooding due to dam releases on the upper Missouri River. However, when I arrived the work had already been completed. Once more, I was gratified to see how Missourians pitch in and help out.

I also stopped by the Buckner City Hall to talk with officials there and visited the Fort Osage R-1 School District in Independence.

This Friday, I look forward to attending the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast and attending a meeting of the Eastern Jackson County Betterment Council.

This Saturday, my wife, Carmen, my youngest son, Tannor, and I are making another trip to Joplin. This time we are going through our church. Your 8th Senatorial District office is planning another trip later this summer; if you are interested, please let us know.

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