Missouri may soon join a growing group of states that have enacted laws requiring citizens to present a certain form of photo identification before being permitted to cast a ballot. These laws are widely denounced by voting rights advocates because they disproportionately disenfranchise the poor, college students, and minorities.
On Tuesday, the Missouri House Committee on Elections voted 7-3 in favor of Rep. Shane Schoeller’s (R) voter ID bill. The party line vote now sends the legislation to the floor, where it will almost certainly pass the Republican-controlled House with ease.
The Kansas City Star notes that Republicans have been trying for years to enact voter ID legislation in the Show Me state:
In 2006, Republicans passed a photo ID bill that was later struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court. The court said the law amounted to a “heavy and substantial burden on Missourians’ free exercise of the right of suffrage.”
In response to the court’s ruling, lawmakers passed a proposed constitutional amendment allowing a photo ID requirement to vote. That amendment is scheduled to be on the ballot this fall, although it is being challenged in court.
Legislation implementing a photo ID requirement, which was similar to the bill Schoeller is currently sponsoring as well as one passed by a Senate committee on Monday, also passed last year but was later vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.
Though Nixon will almost certainly veto the legislation again if it comes to his desk, Republicans are on the cusp of being able to override a veto. A two-thirds majority is required in each chamber to override a veto, a hurdle the GOP is four House votes away from surpassing. Currently, the GOP currently controls 77 percent of seats in the Senate and 65 percent of the House.