Elections Committee approves voter photo ID

The Missouri House Elections Committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment Tuesday to require voters to present photo ID at the polls.

"By the secretary of state's calculations [this] will disenfranchise 200,000 Missourians," said Rep. Michael Frame (D-Eureka). "That is too many of our legal citizens who want to vote in elections, who should vote in elections, being told they cannot."

The proposal also allows for some early voting and revises the absentee voting process. The measure passed on a straight party-line vote, with Democrats against it and Republicans voting for it. Republicans say the measure will eliminate voter fraud, not disenfranchise voters.

"We're gonna do everything we can in our power to make sure everybody gets a photo ID at no cost to them," said Rep. Bill Deekin (R-Jefferson City). "The state has to fund the whole thing otherwise it's a no go."

In 2006, the majority Republicans enacted a photo voter ID law but the Missouri Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said that if the measure is passed, the photo ID restriction would prevent more than 10,000 military voters and more than 14,000 disabled Missourians from casting a ballot.

If it clears the legislature it will go to a public vote in 2010.