Governor Mike Parson signed a bill yesterday that requires all voters to provide a government-issued photo ID at the ballot box, along with a list of other conditions, and voting rights groups are pushing back.
HB 1878 will take effect from 28 August, which means the measure will not go into effect until after the primary election on 2 August.
Dennis Lieberman, director and general counsel for the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, said in a statement that the group is disappointed with the new law and is considering legal action against certain provisions of the bill.
Under HB 1878, individuals must show a government-issued ID when voting or casting a provisional ballot. Earlier, voters could show different types of identity cards.
The new photo ID requirement is just one part of the bill. It repeals the use of mail-in ballots – a method popularized in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic – but allows some absentee ballots and prohibits drop boxes for absentee ballots. This paper makes ballots the official method of voting, bans electronic vote-counting machines after January 1, 2024, and prevents machines from being connected to the Internet. It also extended the period for submission of votes without any excuse by way of absentee ballot by two weeks.
It also gives the Missouri Secretary of State the power to audit voter lists and remove ineligible voters. (Local election officials already campaign post-election voters to remove voters who are inactive or who haven’t responded to mailers about updating their voter registrations, Kansas City Beacon Report.) In addition to new rules regarding elections, the bill also removes the presidential primary in Missouri, meaning voters will no longer cast ballots on their party’s candidate for President of the United States.
“HB 1878 is breathtaking in the ways we undermine our elections,” Lieberman said in her statement, continuing that the new law disrupts “voter registration campaigns,” making it illegal to help people obtain absentee ballot applications. These include an unconstitutional strict photo ID provision, allowing the secretary of state to order voters to be removed from the list at his discretion, allowing partisan lawmakers to be part of the challenges of voting laws, opening the door to fake audits and more. some. ,
Lieberman joins in his promise to fight other activists – the Reverend Darryl Gray, executive director of the Missouri Faith Voice, says they will “meet this menace if necessary in the courts, the ballot box, and the streets.”
“This blatant attack on black Missourians is an attack against our basic rights and freedoms,” says Gray. “Black people and our allies will not sit idle while our basic human rights are threatened.”
Marilyn McLeod, president of the League of Women Voters in Metro St. Louis, says the law adds “unnecessary barriers to our most basic right.”
Voting rights activists have challenged a similar bill that required photo IDs in the 2017 election, and the Missouri Supreme Court sided with the group. Last 2016 law allowed three methods of voting: show a photo ID, show a similar method of identification such as a utility bill and sign an affidavit, or cast a provisional ballot and return with a photo ID. In 2020, the court struck down the law, finding part of the affidavit to be “misleading” and “contradictory”.