Sen. Dave Schatz’s Weekly Column for Jan. 28

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Results from our district survey on support for voter ID.

Free and fair elections make up the foundation that our state and nation are built upon. Ensuring the fairness of our elections is one of the most sacred duties of government and safeguarding that fairness is why I am a staunch supporter of voter ID.

The Missouri General Assembly has been debating the voter ID issue for nearly a decade and this session has been no exception. So far, the House has moved voter ID out of their chamber and the Senate is working on similar measures. All these bills have one essential component in common: Every voter should have to provide a photo ID when going to vote to ensure that the principle of “one person, one vote” is not violated.

In order to implement voter ID, the state must change its constitution (which requires voter approval) and then implement legislation requiring voter ID. Senate Joint Resolution 20 would, upon voter approval, amend the state’s constitution to allow a voter ID law to be passed by the Legislature. Senate Bill 594 would then establish identification requirements for voter ID into state law. Both measures must pass for voter ID to become a reality.

If these laws pass, voters would have to produce a valid Missouri driver’s license, a valid non-driver’s license or other forms of photo ID as written in the law. There are exceptions in SB 594 for the elderly, poor, and others who may not have a photo ID. Those voters would be allowed to vote using a provisional ballot. Voter ID bills under consideration also have provisions allowing for free photo IDs to be provided for Missourians who cannot afford a photo ID.

Photo IDs are commonplace in modern life and I believe that requiring an ID to vote is only common sense. In last year’s district survey, the vast majority of my constituents agreed that voter ID is good policy, as 75 percent of respondents supported the concept.

I will support every effort to pass voter ID and ensure the integrity of our elections.

Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.