Nixon vetoes photo voter ID law

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a component of the photo voter ID package that passed the legislature this year, saying the law would disenfranchise voters.

Nixon’s veto quickly drew the ire of Republican lawmakers who worked to pass the bill, saying he’s discounting the work they put in during the session to make sure it wouldn’t disenfranchise anyone with the right to vote.

“The Senate has not only spent hours but years working with both sides to make sure this bill was a good balance of protecting the fairness of Missouri elections while making sure no voter is disenfranchised,” said Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin. “I expect the Senate will be able to easily override this veto, and this action only makes it more important for people to get out and vote in November and show their support for voter ID.”

While Nixon vetoed HB 1631, which would have set up the framework for photo voter ID, HJR 53 will still send the constitutional change to allow photo voter ID to the people for a vote on the November ballot.

As part of a compromise agreement in the Senate, the framework law, HB 1631, was changed to allow voters without the necessary ID to vote to sign an affidavit under the penalty of perjury saying that they did not possess the required ID. Nixon said that requirement was still onerous.

“House Bill No. 1631 would needlessly cast suspicion on the elderly, disabled, and other individuals who, for a myriad of reasons, do not have the type of government-issued photo ID required under the bill,” he wrote in his veto letter.

He also wrote that the bill was “such an affront to Missourians’ fundamental right to vote that it requires our Constitution to be amended for its voter suppression provisions to become effective.”

But Republican legislators pushed back, including Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, who handled the bill in the Senate.

“I believe voting is one of our most important rights and duties,” he said in a statement. “Currently there is no way to detect voter impersonation fraud when it happens. This common-sense requirement would have protected the integrity and fairness of our election process in Missouri while still making it easy for Missourians to cast their ballot.”

Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, sponsored the bill in the House and reacted to its veto on Twitter.

The legislators will have a chance to override Nixon’s veto on Sept. 14 at the special veto session. The bill passed both chambers with enough votes to override a veto.

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