Republicans Talk Up Constituents as Voter ID Ballot Nears

Sep 27, 2016

Missouri Republican representatives and senators have only one major hurdle remaining to implement mandatory voter identification statewide.  That hurdle is the very voters they’re looking to legislate.

Amendment Six will appear as a ballot measure this November. The amendment will enshrine in the Missouri constitution a requirement that all voters present valid photo identification. It will be the final step in mandatory voter identification legislation that successfully overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto on September 14.

The Missouri Right to Vote Campaign has organized with the goal of encouraging voters to fail the amendment on the November ballot.

Laura Swinford, executive director for Progress Missouri, is involved with the coalition. She said that previous voter identification legislation has been struck down as unconstitutional due to Missouri’s constitutionally high bar for voter rights.

“So what proponents have figured out to do this year is to put an amendment on the ballot that would strip that protection out of our state constitution,” Swinford said.

According to Swinford, the Missouri Right to Vote Campaign is a coalition of different groups, including the League of Women Voters, AARP and various religious organizations. She said many of these groups are interested in protecting voter rights, particularly the rights of low income communities and communities of color that they feel are disproportionately targeted by Amendment Six.

“Folks are phone banking, they’re making calls, they’re knocking doors, they’re sharing videos and images and information with each other on Facebook and Twitter and social media platforms,” Swinford said. “This is something that folks are starting to take notice of and talk about.”

But Sen. Will Kraus, R-Jackson County, said he is confident voters will approve Amendment Six. Kraus was a key player in getting voter identification passed through the senate this past session. He said requiring a valid photo ID for voters cuts back on voter fraud.

He said the polling data he has seen suggests that the majority of voters are in favor of the amendment, which he said will play to the amendments favor during a presidential campaign cycle.

“The more people that come out to vote,” Kraus said, “the harder it is going to be to defeat.”

Kraus said he, along with fellow Republican representatives and senators, is communicating with his districts and encouraging constituents to vote in favor of the amendment. 

Voters will decide on Amendment Six during the general election on Tuesday, November 8.