By Jay Ashcroft, Missouri Secretary of State
Last November, Missourians voted to pass constitutional amendment six, paving the way for common sense voter ID, by a margin of 63 percent – 37 percent. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office is responsible for the implementation of the new photo ID law, set to take effect June 1, 2017. Now what?
First, and most importantly, we will make certain every eligible registered voter can still request an absentee ballot or go to his or her polling place and vote on election day. Second, the Secretary of State’s office will begin a public information campaign about the new photo ID requirements and assist those individuals who do not have photo identification in order to vote.
In order to properly fund the implementation of photo voter ID, we are working with the state legislature to appropriate $1.4 million, which is necessary to comply with the law’s requirements. These requirements were largely put in place at the request of the measure’s opponents to ensure adequate notice of the law was given to voters. As responsible stewards of your tax dollars, we have developed a budget according to the law’s requirements. The previous administration provided a bloated budget estimate, including millions in wasteful spending, such as offering to provide free ID’s to individuals who already have one. These frivolous expenses would have cost taxpayers an additional $3.85 million.
Our budget allocates $1.3 million to comply with the law’s requirements to “provide advance notice of the personal identification requirements… in a manner calculated to inform the public… such advance notice shall include, at a minimum, the use of advertisements and public service announcements in print, broadcast television, radio, cable,” and $100,000 to cover “any individual seeking documents … in order to vote may request the secretary of state to facilitate the acquisition of such documents.”
On June 1, 2017, we plan to begin the public information campaign. We will work to develop public service announcements and advertising placement. We plan to run media advertisements weekly leading up to future elections and distribute posters and pamphlets to clearly articulate the new requirements. We will also notify every person that files as a candidate for office, making easy-to-understand information available to ensure their own supporters can satisfy the photo ID requirements. The first elections under the new voter ID law will be August 2017.
Our office has and will continue to work closely with the Governor, members of both the State House and Senate, other administration departments and local election authorities to ensure the successful implementation of the new photo voter ID law.
The people of Missouri have spoken and we’ve been tasked with the responsibility of implementing this common sense voter ID law. Your secretary of state’s office will remain steadfast in the promise of ensuring every eligible registered Missouri voter has the right opportunity to vote in every election.