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NAACP Vows to Fight Voter ID if Veto Overturned

Missouri Capitol
Ryan Famuliner
The Capitol building in Jefferson City. GOP legislators are opposing the appointment of a Columbia attorney to the UM System Board of Curators.

Republicans will likely take a big step forward Wednesday in what has been a 10-year battle to pass voter identification legislation in Missouri.

The bill would require Missouri voters to present some form of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. Voters could also present a non-photo ID, but would be required to sign a document affirming their identity and be required to sign up for a state-funded government issued ID.

Sen. Will Kraus, R-Jackson County, who sponsored a Senate version of the bill, said he anticipates that the House of Representatives will override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto on the bill and send it back to the Senate.

If the Senate receives the bill, Kraus said he is optimistic.

“No one has indicated to me that they plan on changing the vote that they made during session,” Kraus said. “I think it’s pretty solid.”

But Adolphus Pruitt, the President of the St. Louis City NAACP, said his organization will fight the legislation in court if it passes.

Pruitt said that requiring voter identification disproportionately affects communities of color and Democrats in general.

“It is a partisan issue,” Pruitt said.

Voter Identification legislation has been struck down by various state and federal courts in Missouri and other states.

If the legislation clears Nixon’s veto, it will be passed on to voters in November. Voters will have to vote to decide if legislators can amend the state constitution to allow for voter identification language to be included.

Kraus said the legislation is a “common sense approach to safeguarding the election from voter fraud.”

He said he thinks voter identification will easily pass on the ballot in November.

Pruitt, however, is channeling much of his energy into encouraging people to vote against the legislation.

“I think the priority is, regardless of what happens in Jeff City during the veto session, is to ensure that that piece of legislation is something that voters in the state of Missouri vote down.”

Legislators will begin the veto session in Jefferson City on Wednesday. The bill, if proposed for veto overturn, will begin in the House and move to the Senate. Both the House and Senate have a Republican majority.