The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

State News

May 8, 2008

Missouri: Carnahan raises concerns as House passes voter photo IDs

The Associated Press

BRENTWOOD, Mo. — As lawmakers advanced a proposal Thursday that could lead to photo ID requirements for voters, Lillie Lewis expressed fears that a chain reaction of circumstances could make it difficult for her to vote in Missouri.

Lewis, 71, said her driver’s license expires in June. But because of a government building fire in her native Mississippi, Lewis said she doesn’t have a birth certificate that she believes is necessary to renew her license.

If lawmakers place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot authorizing voter photo ID requirements, and it passes, she fears she would be unable to show a proper ID come the next general election.

“My right to vote will be denied,” she said at a news conference with Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, an opponent of the photo ID requirement.

As Carnahan criticized the measure, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof praised the photo ID provisions “as reasonable reforms that will help ensure our election results are accurate and trustworthy.”

“Missourians have to show their ID to get on an airplane or cash a check,” Hulshof said. “It is logical to provide similar proof of citizenship when it comes time to cast a ballot.”

The House voted 89-69 — with Rep. Jim Guest, R-King City, the only member to cross party lines and vote with Democrats against it — to send the proposed constitutional amendment to the Senate, which has just one week remaining to act on the measure before the end of the legislative session.

If referred to the ballot and adopted by voters, the proposed constitutional amendment would clear the way for the Legislature to adopt a bill requiring voters to prove their citizenship and legal residence in Missouri, including by showing a valid government-issued photo identification.

The constitutional amendment states that those lacking photo IDs could receive a free one from the government.

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