Kansas City Star: To protect voters’ rights, Nixon should veto photo ID bill

May 11, 2011- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has been busy with the veto pen this session, and the legislature has given him cause to use it again.

A bill requiring citizens to produce government-issued photo identification at the polls would create barriers for thousands of elderly and disabled Missourians, college students and minorities. Now is the time to stop it.

A supposed sweetener in the bill — the introduction of convenient advance voting in Missouri — is a red herring. Early voting would be subject to annual funding by the legislature and governor. The chances of finding money in a cash-strapped budget anytime soon are slim.

The odds of the GOP-dominated legislature scraping up funds to initiate the photo ID requirement are much better, given the current pressure to do so from national Republican-leaning interest groups.

This is Missouri’s second try at a photo identification requirement. The state Supreme Court declared a previous law unconstitutional in 2006. Lawmakers are trying to circumvent that problem by asking voters to amend the state constitution to require voters to produce a photo ID. The enabling legislation passed this week would take effect if voters approve the amendment.


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