New wave of voter suppression: The show me your ID state

Updated
FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2012 file photo, election officials check the photo identification card of a voter in Cimarron, Kan. Voter ID laws designed to deter...
FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2012 file photo, election officials check the photo identification card of a voter in Cimarron, Kan. Voter ID laws designed to deter...
AP Photo/The The Hutchinson News, Travis Morisse, File

The Show Me state is on the verge of becoming the “show me your ID” state as Missouri Republicans move closer towards passing a voter ID requirement in the state.

Despite strong opposition from Democrats, Republicans in the House passed a measure Thursday that would require voters to show a photo ID before voting. The bill now heads to the Senate, which is also Republican controlled.

House Speaker Tim Jones, echoing the justification used by many pro-voter ID Republicans, called it a “common-sense” idea. “It protects the integrity of the voting process.”

Democrat Rep. Chris Kelly said passage of the bill proves “Jim Crow is alive” and that it’s “the single most immoral act that I’ve ever seen happen in my time in the General Assembly.”

Fellow Democratic state Rep. Genise Montecillo told St. Louis Public Radio, “I don’t envy you having to explain it to your Maker” referring to those who voted for the voter ID bill.

State law already requires identification to cast a ballot, but the current list of acceptable documentation includes utility bills and voter registration cards.

The state’s first introduction to voter ID came in 2006, when lawmakers passed a photo ID law that the state Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional before it could go into effect.

Missouri’s not the only state pushing to restrict acceptable ID this year. Virginia Republicans in both chambers have passed new photo ID-only laws, although many think it could be illegal under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Missouri is not under the jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act.

Just this week, Republicans in Arkansas and North Dakota pushed similar bills. In North Dakota, the House passed an amendment this week that would require voters to show identification before casting a ballot, despite concerns by some that it hadn’t been properly scrutinized in committee. Debate in the Arkansas Senate has typically reserved lawmakers’ tempers flaring.

New wave of voter suppression: The show me your ID state

Updated