Voters can still stop it by voting ‘NO’ on Amendment 6
By TIM ROWDEN
Jefferson City – The Missouri General Assembly has taken a giant step backwards for voting rights by voting to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that sets up the framework for photo voter ID in Missouri elections.
House Bill 1631 would require Missouri voters to provide a government-issued photo ID before being allowed to cast a ballot.
Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis called the General Assembly’s action “an atrocity.”
“It is an atrocity to our democracy and gross negligence by the majority of the Missouri General Assembly to override Governor Nixon’s veto of House Bill 1631, a prohibitive measure that unnecessarily limits the form of photo identification acceptable to show when voting,” Louis said.
“This unconstitutional legislation will cost hard-working Missourians $17 million to implement, and make it tougher, if not impossible, for nearly 220,000 previously eligible Missouri voters, who now do not own the proper photo ID, to vote.”
A spokeswoman for the Missouri Right to Vote Campaign also expressed disappointment with the General Assembly’s decision.
“Not only is it irresponsible for lawmakers to pass needless and confusing legislation that will cost Missouri taxpayers upwards of $17 million dollars to implement in its first three years, but this measure will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of registered voters to vote,” said Laura Swinford, a spokesperson for the campaign. “This isn’t just wrong – it’s unconstitutional.”
VOTERS CAN STILL STOP IT
Even though the veto was overridden, the bill won’t become law unless voters decide in November to amend the state’s constitution to allow a photo ID requirement by passing Amendment 6. That’s because the Missouri Supreme Court deemed voter ID unconstitutional in 2006, ruling that the law amounted to a “heavy and substantial burden on Missourians’ free exercise of the right of suffrage.”
If voters reject the constitutional amendment this fall, voter ID will remain unconstitutional and the enacting legislation voted on will be moot.
The Missouri AFL-CIO has already knocked on over thousands doors educating voters about their choices in the Nov. 8 general election, when voters will be able to vote #NoOn6 to prevent their state constitution’s voting rights protections being eliminated.
The state federation is also distributing voting rights cards throughout the state to ensure voters know the appropriate procedures to register to vote, how to vote absentee and what they’ll need to vote on election day under current Missouri law.