Springfield, Mo – We’re exactly two weeks away from Election Day and one issue on the ballot is the voter ID law which is expected to pass, and also to be challenged.
Tuesday, the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri held a forum about the issue, which according to them, is a bad idea. Several states have challenged the voter ID law, and it’s expected to be no different here in Missouri.
“We are going in and changing the Missouri Constitution,” said Dr. Elizabeth Paddock, a professor of political science at Drury University.
Missouri has tried to implement voter ID laws for years and the state’s Supreme Court has deemed it unconstitutional before.
“That’s why this time around the legislature passed the law, but they said the voter had to confirm it,” said Dr. Paddock.
17 other states have imposed some kind of voter ID laws, and Dr. Elizabeth Paddock says at least five of them were challenged. That includes North Carolina, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Texas.
“It’s not just challenging a state law, but it’s being challenged in light of the national Constitution,” she said.
She says here in Missouri Amendment 6 is likely to pass, and likely to be challenged.
“I suspect there will be people who will take it to maybe the state courts, possibly the federal courts,” said Dr. Paddock.
Those opposing it say the amendment limits many voters from reaching the polls – including elderly and minority voters, low-income individuals and those with disabilities.
“I think it does us a disservice in our communities because we are supposed to get people engaged in our communities,” said Alex Johnson, president of Drury Young Democrats.
Even out-of-state students.
“People are living here nine out of 12 months a year, for four to five years, and then being told that they can’t vote because they haven ‘t changed over their ID,” Johnson said.
The amendment requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID, a driver’s license, a passport or a military ID.
“They are trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist in order to preserve a democracy and preserve the right to vote. But, really, it’s just disenfranchising people,” said Johnson.
Supporters, however, have said the goal of Amendment 6 is to prevent voter fraud. And those without a valid photo ID can sign a penalty of purgery and show a utility bill or paycheck. The voter could also cast a provisional ballot., which would be valid if the voter could later prove their identity.