If Missouri residents vote yes for Amendment Six in November, up to 220,000 people could lose their right to vote.
Amendment Six would require all Missouri voters to prove their identity and residency by showing photo ID at the ballots. This is an infringement on voters’ rights and could disenfranchise minorities, the elderly and people who do not drive.These groups lack identification more than the rest of the population, according to “The Washington Times.” When similar measures were taken in Kansas, these groups had less voter turnout than usual.
Amendment Six is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, meaning that it will appear on the ballot because Missouri state legislature overrode yet another of Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes.
According to ThinkProgress, a political news site, Republicans in Missouri have been trying to pass such legislation for over 10 years. Democrats tried to stop it from happening via filibuster, but came to a compromise with Republicans.
“The compromise requires the state and all fee offices to provide free photo IDs and also any underlying documents necessary to obtain a photo ID, such as birth certificates and Social Security cards. All costs associated with the photo ID compromise will be paid for in the state budget. If the appropriation is insufficient, the photo ID requirement would not be enforced,” according to the Senate.
According to the ballot, Amendment Six will “result in no costs or savings because any potential costs would be due to the enactment of a general law allowed by this proposal. If such a general law is enacted, the potential costs to state and local governments is unknown, but could exceed $2.1 million annually.” This is an unnecessary cost to our government and money could be better spent elsewhere.
Common arguments for Amendment Six include citizens voting more than once, being registered and voting in multiple states and fraudulently voting for the deceased. The Brennan Center for Justice looked into voter fraud and stated it is not as big of a problem as some media outlets may lead on.
“Allegations of widespread voter fraud, however, often prove greatly exaggerated. It is easy to grab headlines with a lurid claim ("Tens of thousands may be voting illegally!"); the follow-up -when any exists- is not usually deemed newsworthy,” The Brennan Center said. “On closer examination, many of the claims of voter fraud amount to a great deal of smoke without much fire. The allegations simply do not pan out.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Missouri law asks that voters bring a form of non-photo identification such as a bank statement, utility bill or pay stub that includes voter name and address. There are 17 states that do not require any form of ID, so this amendment is unnecessary for Missouri. If these states do without required photo ID, Missouri can too.
“Incidents of in-person voter fraud are virtually non-existent. While I don’t like this bill or any voter ID bill, the Republican supermajority made this legislation as palatable as possible,” said Senate Assistant Minority Floor Leader Gina Walsh.
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of palatable is “acceptable or satisfactory.” As Missouri residents, we need to fight for legislature that is more than just acceptable or satisfactory.
“In the end, I care too deeply about voting rights to allow a bill to pass this chamber that would deny anyone’s right to vote,” Senate Minority Leader Joe Keaveny said.
As Missouri residents, we need to continue the fight against this unnecessary legislation. This November, vote against Amendment Six and let all Missouri residents keep their constitutional right to vote.