The Missouri House of Representatives once again passed legislation regarding voter identification.

Over the past several years, the House has attempted to implement new laws to combat voter fraud but have been struck down by the Missouri Senate and the Missouri Supreme court.

The Missouri legislature first must amend the constitution to allow for a voter identification law to be passed. House Bill 30 will implement voter identification restrictions.

Just last year a similar bill was presented, House Bill 1073, but faced scrutiny from Secretary of State Jason Kander.

In the House Bill 1073 Impact Report from February 2014, Kander explained why he disagreed with the bill.

“As the state’s chief elections officer, it is my job to make sure that only eligible voters vote, but also that every eligible voter has the opportunity to vote,” Kander said. “This proposed legislation could keep hundreds of thousands of current Missouri voters from voting, which is not only just wrong but unconstitutional.”

However, this year, the legislation has passed through the House once again and State Representative from District 1, Allen Andrews, a Republican from Grant City, believes the legislation is important for Missouri to pass.

“It would give another layer of protection to help our votes be eliminated from voter fraud,” Andrews said. “If passed in the Senate, it would require a voter to prove their identity by having a photo ID.”

From Kander’s 2014 report, last year’s proposed bill would exclude over 200,000 Missouri citizens.

“This is not just a simple identification requirement,” Kander said in the report. “This is essentially ‘REAL ID’ all over again, as the legislature wants everyone in our state to be required to have a certain kind of identification.”

Andrews believes it is important for everyone to have a photo ID because.

“There are so many things we do now that requires a photo ID for almost everything,” Andrews said. “It includes driver’s licenses, bank accounts and anything that is important for you to prove who you are.”

In Missouri, voters must present some form of identification. A voter must either show a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID card, U.S. passport, a copy of a utility bill, bank statement or paycheck. The proposed legislation would require an individual to have photo ID.

If the new legislation were to make through the Missouri Legislature and Missouri voters, Missouri would join 31 other states with some sort of photo ID law.

According to the National Conference of State Legislature, only seven states have a strict photo ID law: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

According to Missouri House Bill 30, the legislation would change the laws regarding elections by requiring people wishing to vote to provide specified personal identification to establish their identity and eligibility to vote.

The bill says approved forms of identification would include a current Missouri driver’s license or a current Missouri non-driver’s license, a document issued by the United States of the State of Missouri containing the person’s name and photograph or any armed services identification containing a photograph that is not expired.

“If you do not have a photo ID in today’s society, it is best that you get one,” Andrews said. “This will do just that, it will help people who do not have a photo ID to obtain one. We actually put an amendment on this bill to allow folks who simply do not have the money to get a photo ID taken, the state will provide one of those to them.”

The next step for the legislation is to be decided on in the Missouri Senate. If the bills make it through all the proper channels, it will be put on the Missouri ballot in 2016.

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