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16 June 2011

Rupp: Protecting One of Our Greatest Liberties

The right to vote is one of the most important and valued freedoms in our country. Throughout history, thousands of Americans fought for the right to vote and dedicated their lives to the cause. The best way to honor these individuals is to exercise our right to vote, and never take this right for granted. To maintain honesty and integrity at the polls, two measures were passed by Missouri lawmakers — SJR 2 and SB 3. These measures target voter fraud in our state.

Specifically, SJR 2 is a constitutional amendment that, upon voter approval, would require a voter to identify him or herself as a U.S. citizen and a resident of Missouri by producing a valid, government-issued photo ID. Senate Bill 3 is the enabling legislation mentioned in SJR 2 and would establish voter ID requirements. The measure is straightforward, and would be effective if enacted into law. The bill states that if a person is not able to obtain a government-issued photo ID, a provisional ballot would be provided, and would be valid as long as the person verifies his or her identity. Also, the measure requires the state to provide one free form of documentation for citizens, and establishes dates for presidential, senatorial, and statewide elections.

The governor has until July 14 to act on SB 3. I am hopeful that this measure will be enacted into law, because our job as lawmakers is to protect the rights and the voices of our constituents. It is not only unfair, but unconstitutional, for a fraudulent voter to cast his or her vote upon matters that are important to Missourians. You wouldn’t want an imposter to weaken an issue that you are passionate about. The legislation also makes sense in the fact that numerous, everyday tasks require a photo ID, such as checking out a library book or renting a movie. As one of the liberties that make our country known for its freedom and justice, the right to vote should be handled with care and the upmost respect, and I encourage you to make your voice heard on SJR 2 when you head to the polls.

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