The League of Women Voters of Missouri strongly opposes the constitutional amendment, HJR 48, which would require voters to obtain and show a government-issued photo ID before exercising their constitutional right to vote.
Research shows that photo ID requirements encourage racial and ethnic discrimination at polling places, prevent eligible voters from participating, and limit turnout. Genuine instances of impersonation at the polls are rare, and the costs of this proposed solution to an unproven problem are great.
In 2006 the Missouri Secretary of State estimated that almost 240,000 Missourians of voting age, including about 16 percent of our seniors, don’t have a state-issued photo ID. The burden of obtaining one falls hardest on elderly, low-income, minority or handicapped people, who often lack the required documents (birth certificates or marriage licenses) needed to obtain ID. A photo ID requirement would disenfranchise the very people who must work the hardest to vote at all.
Missouri should be in the business of encouraging full participation, not impeding the right to vote. The Legislature should oppose the voter ID requirement and instead focus on improving poll worker training and ensuring our elections are more efficient, secure, accurate and re-countable.
President, League of Women Voters of Missouri