Voting is one of the most basic rights protected by the Missouri Constitution and it is the most direct way in which citizens interact with their government. Because of its vital importance, it is necessary to ensure that fraudulent voting does not take place. Ensuring that a voter is who she says she is essential to the democratic process, but should be done in a way that does not overburden the fundamental right of voting. By requiring that all voters present specific forms of photo identification in order to receive a ballot, bills introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate during the 2014 Legislative session would do just that. These proposed laws are misguided attempts to correct non-existent but perceived threats of voter fraud and would harm the integrity of elections in the state by making it extremely difficult for large numbers of Missourians to exercise their right to vote. This Note discusses the history of these photo identification laws in Missouri and other states and demonstrates that these laws are not good-faith efforts to prevent voter fraud, but rather are politically motivated attempts to affect the outcome of elections by making it more difficult for certain people to vote. Part II of this Note discusses the current state of voter identification laws in Missouri, a recent failed attempt to amend these laws, and a challenge to a strict voter identification law in Indiana that reached the Supreme Court. Part III discusses bills introduced in Missouri during the 2014 legislative session that would amend the state’s voter identification laws, while Part IV argues that such attempts should be rejected in the future.
Photo Identification at the Ballot: Election Protection or Voter Suppression?,
80 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol80/iss1/13