In April of 2015, more than two dozen votes were casts in Kinloch, Miss. by voters who were registered at a vacant address. The mayor-elect was later barred from being sworn in due to alleged fraud. In Kansas, the secretary of state is currently prosecuting three cases of double-voting. Two of those cases are in Johnson County. After the August 2010 Kansas City Democratic primary, two relatives of the winning representative pleaded guilty to fraud. The representative won the election by a single vote.
Election fraud is real. While it is hard to expose all voter fraud, there are some steps we can take to better detect it. Last week, the Legislature advanced House Bill 1631. The bill requires voters to provide a valid photo ID at the polls, and acceptable forms of ID include a Missouri driver’s license or a military ID. If a voter does not have a valid photo ID, that person can still vote by signing a statement stating that they are the person they claims to be. If no statement is signed the voter can still vote provisionally. Under this bill, voters without valid photo ID can obtain one for free.
If passed by the House, the bill will not go into effect unless Missouri voters approve House Joint Resolution 53. The amendment would add a provision to the Missouri Constitution that allows the Legislature to implement a requirement for voters to provide a photo ID at the polls. The Senate gave initial approval to the joint resolution last week and has until the end of this week, Friday, May 13, to ultimately approve the resolution and send it to the ballot.
Facts show voter ID laws are intended to protect voters from dishonest tactics used by people looking for an advantage at the expense of our fundamental right. Photo identification requirements improve security at the polls to ensure Missouri voices are heard. I believe protecting the integrity of our constitutional right to vote is one of the most important things I can do as your legislator, and I applaud my colleagues for making this issue a priority this Session.
Numerous other priorities have advanced in the previous weeks, as I’ve documented in prior columns. Those remaining will take center stage as we head into our final week of the Second Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly. Some topics you can expect to see debated include continued discussion of our state ethics laws, discussion of laws pertaining to gun use in the state and bills that focus on health and education, among others.
As we head into the final week, I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you who have reached out to my office this Session. I appreciate hearing from you, and I take your input very seriously. It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve you for the past two years. I look forward to tackling the tough issues that remain this week and ending the Session on a positive note.
Please check next week for our end-of-Session wrap up that will detail some of the major accomplishments of the past four and a half months.
Contacting Sen. Onder
Throughout this session, I will do my best to keep you informed of our work here in the Capitol. I encourage you to contact my office if you have comments, questions or concerns.
For constituent questions, scheduling and general questions, please contact my Scheduler and Director of Constituent Services Theckla Spainhower at Theckla.Spainhower@senate.mo.gov.
For questions pertaining to legislation, please contact my Chief of Staff and Legislative Director Jennae Neustadt at Jennae.Neustadt@senate.mo.gov.
You can reach my Capitol office at (573) 751-1282. You can also e-mail me personally at Bob.Onder@senate.mo.gov.
I would like to encourage you to sign up for my weekly capitol reports so we can inform you of our work each week. Please email Theckla Spainhower at Theckla.Spainhower@senate.mo.gov to be added to our mailing list.
Thank you again for your support. I look forward to serving you.
Robert F. (Bob) Onder, Jr.