Day Sixteen: Voter ID

In the November General Election, Missourians voted 63 percent in favor of an amendment that would require registered voters to provide a government-issued ID in order to vote.

Missourians will see the law go into effect on June 1st, 2017 and Missouri officials must decide on a proper budget plan to implement the law.While Governor Greitens initially proposed the budget at $300,000, Secretary of State, R-Jay Ashcroft, estimates 1.5 million which is nearly 3 million below the previous administration’s estimate.

Ashcroft says the original budget “included some things that aren’t required under the law like sending multiple letters to every registered voter in the state of Missouri.”

Ashcroft plans on utilizing a system that will differentiate between registered voters that knowingly have a government-issued identification to save on publicized costs.

“We are currently going through and looking at voter registrations and comparing them to department of revenue records,” Ashcroft says.  “We don’t necessarily see the need to send them a letter telling them they can get a free driver’s license if we know they already have a driver’s license.”

The budget will include informing the public via letters and brochures but Ashcroft says television commercials will not be utilized due to lack of funds.

Democratic Representatives brought up issues regarding informing the public properly to ensure that all eligible voters will be able to vote. Representative D-Karla May raised concerns about how immobile seniors obtain their voter registration card.

May says she has one lady in her district “who was born in Jackson county, Mississippi…[they]said they no longer have those birth records because they had a fire…so I’m trying to figure out how does she get her ID.”

And May is not the only Missouri democrat concerned about stifling eligible voters.

Former Democratic Secretary of State, Jason Kander, was and remains in avid opposition with voter ID and recently implemented a new nonprofit organization titled “Let America Vote” aimed at fighting voter suppression nationwide.

Having lost the issue in Missouri, Kander has acquired a 27-member board that, according to Riverfront Times, includes “human rights activist Martin Luther King III, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards, and former Obama press secretary Josh Earnest.”

The group claims to “lead a political fight” against the GOP and Kander says in an interview that he formed the group in response to “Republicans going into hyper-drive to suppress voting rights.”

“They don’t want people who don’t vote for them to be allowed to vote,” Kander says.

According to the Wichita Eagle, Kansas, which has been known to have strict voting regulations, lost over 13,700 provisional ballots during the November election. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he was aware of a glitch that occurred during October which prevented citizens from registering to vote.

Kobach says the “vast majority” of those voters were not registered.

Other cases of voter ID registration issues were present in Michigan and Texas regarding the law but Missouri Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft, assures Missouri House Members that this will not be an issue. Ashcroft explained several times that registered voters will be allowed to vote, even without proper identification, and if voters do not possess proper photo identification, it will be provided at the state’s expense.

“You may use any of the forms of identification that you’ve been able to use previously to vote,” Ashcroft says. “If you are a registered voter, if you go to your polling place on election day, you will be allowed to vote.”

Ashcroft reassures representatives that the statute requires that provisional ballots must be counted if voting conditions are met.