Missourians would have to present a government-issued photo ID to vote under a legislative package quickly passed by the House and sent to the Senate Thursday, Jan. 21.

In 2009, Missouri adopted a photo-ID requirement, but it was struck down by the state Supreme Court as violating the state’s Constitution.

The legislative package now before the Senate would submit to Missouri voters a constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to require a government ID with a photograph of the voter to vote.

The second part of the package would implement the requirement, but only if Missouri voters approved the constitutional amendment.

The vote was largely along party lines.

“Elections are the purest form of participation in the political process that we have in the state of Missouri. We need to be sure that our elections are held to the highest standards,” said the bill’s sponsor — Rep. Justin Alferman (R-Herman).

Republicans historically have argued that requiring a photo identification helps avoid voter fraud.

Democrats argue it imposes an additional barrier to voting by elderly and lower-income voters who are less likely to have a government-issued photo ID such as a driving license.

“Our state Constitution has one of the strongest protections of rights of the citizens of the state of Missouri. What this resolution does is chip away at those rights,” Rep. Joe Adams (D-St. Louis County) argued during an earlier debate on the issue.

By MDN Staff

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