Rules for Photo ID Law Confusing: Call on Secretary of State to Explain
The West County Community Action Network (WE CAN) sent the letter below to Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft; it was also published March 8 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Please call or e-mail Secretary Ashcroft (573) 751-4015 firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, send your own letter-to-the-editor at email@example.com
“We, the undersigned, are part of the West County Community Action Network (WE CAN) – a coalition of engaged, concerned citizens who live and work in West County, St. Louis. Members of our Voting Rights team have repeatedly contacted the Missouri Sec. of State’s office in the last several weeks, asking Secretary of State Ashcroft to clarify several issues surrounding the new photo ID law, HB 1631, which is set to take effect on June 1st, 2017. Our concerns are many and include the law’s interpretation and implementation, especially the training, communication, rollout and oversight of the law.
As things currently stand, the new photo ID rules are unclear and confusing, which could lead to the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of registered Missouri voters. It is imperative that the necessary funding and personnel be allocated effectively to engage and educate Missouri voters about these impending rule changes. Unfortunately, Secretary of State Ashcroft has offered only high-level guidance about this law’s eventual implementation, leaving many to question how their particular circumstances may impact their ability to obtain photo IDs in order to vote.
Equally important will be the role the Dept. of Revenue plays in this endeavor, given that Missouri voters seeking photo IDs will need to obtain them at a local Dept. of Motor Vehicle office. We all know that local DMVs are busy and have limited hours of operation (no evening hours, limited Saturday hours, and no Sunday hours). However, there has been almost no guidance from the Missouri DOR office about how they will accommodate registered voters seeking photo IDs whose family or work lives make it difficult to get to the DMV or spend significant amounts of time there, for instance, individuals who hold multiple jobs and/or use public transportation.
All in all, if the intent of photo ID rules is to protect the integrity of the voting process, then it’s only fair that the system for obtaining these photo IDs works in favor of all voters. But we’re nowhere close to that right now.”
The West County Community Action Network (WE CAN)
Missourians No Longer have Right to Vote Protected in State’s Constitution
The passage of Amendment 6 on November 8, 2016 is unprecedented as the first effort in the nation to strip a constitutionally protected right to vote from a state constitution.
Missouri now joins the ranks of 17 other states that have put restrictions on voting since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. The 2016 presidential elections were the first in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act in place.
“The tactics of voter suppression laws have changed since the days of literacy tests and poll taxes, but the outcome of making it harder for people to vote remains the same,” said Denise Lieberman, Advancement Project Senior Attorney and coordinator of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition. Click here for more