Protecting the Missouri Election Process
This week, the Missouri General Assembly advanced two measures that would protect the integrity of Missouri’s election system.
House Joint Resolution 53 is a constitutional amendment to add a provision to the Missouri Constitution. It would allow the Legislature to implement a photo identification requirement at the polls. The resolution was advanced by the Senate in a fiscal oversight committee, but requires a final vote in the Senate and another in the House before going to the ballot. The two final votes for HJR 53 will have to be taken in the next week in order to go to the ballot in either August or November.
House Bill 1631 would implement the constitutional amendment, thus requiring Missouri voters to provide a valid form of government-issued photo identification in order to vote. The goal of this legislation is to protect Missourians and the elections system from in-person voter fraud. The preventative measure would require voters to provide valid photo ID – such as a state-issued driver’s/non-driver’s license, a passport or a non-expired military ID – before voting.
The final version of the bill adds a provision that would allow those without a valid photo ID to vote on a regular ballot. Through this alternative, the voter must sign a statement stating he/she is the individual as claimed, under the penalty of perjury, and must have a valid form of identification, such as a utilities bill or a paycheck. Even without the statement, a voter can still vote provisionally.
While this measure will not perfect the elections system, photo identification at the polls is the best way to ensure votes are equal. This fairness and equity is common-sense considering similar information is already required in many different aspects of society, such as medical treatment, job applications, and purchasing certain consumer goods. The legislation also includes a provision that would financially help voters to obtain photo identification and other necessary documents for those who do not currently have access to identification. Voting is a constitutional right and securing that right from fraud will protect our honest Missourians.
House Bill 1631 passed in the Senate by a vote of 24-8, and passed in the House by a vote of 112-40. The legislation is now awaiting the governor’s signature.
It is an honor to be your State Senator and my door is always open to your concerns, questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-2757 or visit my web page at www.senate.mo.gov/riddle.