Photo ID voting bill introduced into Missouri House of Representatives

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Luke Chval

After Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a similar voting identification bill last year, Missouri Rep. Tony Dugger (R-Hartville) has introduced Missouri House Bill 30, which would force all Missouri voters to show government issued photo identification at election polls.
While many Republican representatives think the bill is a deterrent to voter fraud, Democratic representatives, such as Missouri Rep. Stacey Newman (D-Richmond Heights), say the bill stifles voting rights.

I think that it’s disenfranchisement plain and simple. Is it really about voter fraud, or is it about creating another hoop for voters to jump through?—Gretchen Cleppe social studies teacher

U.S. Studies teacher Gretchen Cleppe falls toward Newman’s side, believing the bill’s true purpose is to keep disadvantaged groups from voting by creating financial and situational roadblocks.
“I think that it’s disenfranchisement plain and simple,” Cleppe said. “Is it really about voter fraud, or is it about creating another hoop for voters to jump through? Because if it’s the latter, in my mind it’s unconstitutional.”
Senior Delaney Tevis agrees with Cleppe, stating that no one should have to purchase anything to vote, and for many lower income or urban citizens who don’t have a driver’s license, getting photo identification costs too much time or money.
“Some of these individuals are those who rely on public transportation to get places,” Tevis said. “So this bill would be leaving out a distinct part of the population.”
Dugger notes he has provided for such challenges some citizens faced by placing a stipulation in the bill that would issue photo identifications for the purpose of voting free of charge. Junior Bailey Humphries thinks the law would not adversely affect anyone and getting a free identification would be a step in registering to vote.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Humphries said. “I’m not 18, so I can’t vote yet. I don’t think RBHS student voters would mind at all. It seems pretty reasonable.”
Nevertheless, Tevis takes voting rights seriously and believes voting is a fundamental duty of citizens in any democracy, and as such, laws that affect voting should remain as unrestrictive as possible.
“I am only 17, so I am not registered yet,” Tevis said. “But as soon as I turn 18 I will register because it is important to fulfill my civic responsibility and voice my own opinion.”
By Luke ChvalBILLS-GOIN-UP-ON-A-TUESDAY
infographic by Emily Franke
poll by Devesh Kumar