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.