Missouri Lawmakers Move Towards Voter Photo Identification

Missouri state capitol building.

Missouri state capitol building.

On Wednesday, March 26, 2020, Missouri lawmakers moved towards passing a voter photo identification law. This is a similar bill that was passing through legislation in 2016.

What Happened In 2016?

In 2016 lawmakers passed a bill requiring voters to provide photo identification for voting. If no photo was available, the voter could make a sworn statement to cast a regular, non-provisional ballot. Although approximately 63% of voters approves this law, state Supreme Court judges found the sworn statement objectionable. In January of this year, judges permanently blocked this law.

When legislators met in 2020, our elected officials took the matter up again. This time, the bill omitted the part regarding the sworn statement. Representative John Simmons from Washington is sponsoring the bill. He sees this as a way to defend the views and rights of the voters and citizens.

What Is In The Current Bill?

This new bill, MO HB1600, offers voters one of two options. He can show a photo ID to cast a regular ballot or else he can cast a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot are counted if voters return to their polling place the same day with a valid photo ID or if their signature matches the one on file with election authorities. To cast a provisional ballot, a voter needs to sign a sworn affidavit that includes his birth date, address, and last four digits of his Social Security number, and swear that that information is correct.

This bill is sponsored primarily by Republicans as a means of preventing voter fraud. Democrats oppose the bill. They say that it disenfranchises voter groups, including the poor, elderly, and college students, specifically African Americans. Meanwhile, Democrats tried unsuccessfully to amend the new voter ID proposal to automatically register people to vote. [1]

Representatives can discuss this bill up until May 15, the last date for it to be passed.




  1. ^https://www.westplainsdailyquill.net/national_news/article_0ca1b238-0a9f-545a-b872-636874654d1c.html (go back↩)

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