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Secretary of State Robin Carnahan says a resolution passed by two House committees could disenfranchise up to 230,000 Missouri voters.
Carnahan released a statement on Tuesday that outlined a study her office conducted on House Joint Resolution 9 that would ask voters to approve an amendment to the constitution requiring photo identification to vote. The resolution is sponsored by Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia and co-sponsored by Rep. Bob Nance, R-Excelsior Springs.
To compile the list of voters, the Missouri Centralized Voter Registration Database was compared with the Driver and Non-Driver License information maintained by the Department of Revenue according to the statement. The list includes any registered voters who lack state-issued photo identification or had one that had expired prior to 2009.
According to Carnahan’s figures, 479 voters in Ray County could be affected.The amendment would provide free government issued photo ID cards to voters, but Carnahan says the documents needed to obtain the ID can be hard or expensive to obtain.
In the statement Carnahan refers to a 25-year-old man from Jefferson City, Greg Butler, as a perfect example of someone who would be denied the right to vote.
“I have my Illinois birth certificate, but I was turned away because it doesn’t have a raised seal,” Butler said in the statement released by Carnahan. “I’m trying to get a new copy from Illinois, but the process is complicated. If this passed, I’m worried that I wouldn’t be able to vote in Missouri.”
Carnahan said her office also did a random manually checked sample of 500 voters that revealed the list had an error rate of approximately 4 percent, due to name changes, misspelled names, or nickname usage.
“It’s my job to protect the rights of all Missouri voters,” Carnahan said. “This proposal would make it difficult or impossible for thousands of eligible Missourians to cast a ballot. I hope our legislators will take a closer look at this list and see that there are people in communities all over the state who risk being disenfranchised by this proposal.”
Nance said yesterday that in 2006 voter ID was approved by the voters but was declared unconstitutional. Nance said the state was going to go out in vans to remote areas, nursing homes and senior centers to get identification to the voters.
Furthermore, Nance said there are provisions in the amendment that would include military people and their families.
“It’s got safeguards in it,” Nance said. “Anybody that wants to vote can sign up to vote.”
Carnahan is serving in her second term as Secretary of State and recently announced her intentions to seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated by Sen. Kit Bond in 2010.
The resolution still faces a full House vote.