Press "Enter" to skip to content

Photo voter ID on Nov. 8 ballot

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon announced late Monday that a controversial photo voter ID measure passed by the General Assembly will go on the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot.

HJR 53, sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville, will amend the Missouri constitution to require voters to verify their identity with a government-issued photo identification. It passed through the House and Senate in the final two weeks of session, despite opposition from Democrats on the issue.


The resolution was passed in conjunction with HB 1631, authored by Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, which creates new rules and regulations pertaining to photo voter ID. However, the new law also underwent some changes that would ease voting in some cases. Certain voters lacking a photo voter ID may still vote if they sign an affidavit under threat of perjury essentially saying they are who they say they are.

Under the bill, the state will also cover the cost of any and all IDs, or to obtain documents necessary to receive IDs, required by people that do not have them.

Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, was the Senate handler for both bills.

The measure is widely praised by Republicans as a way to ensure less voter fraud at the polls, but Democrats and liberal groups argue the bill could reduce voting access for minorities and the elderly and that the cost is too high.

A law similar to HB 1631 was struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2008 because they found it placed too substantial a burden on a person to vote. With the constitutional amendment and the added stipulations, Republicans are confident this bill will stand any constitutional test.

Even before Nixon chose the November date rather than the August election, many political insiders within the Capitol noted that the move would be political since the issue is so divisive. Voters on both sides are expected to turn out in force on this measure.