Republican lawmakers are taking another swing at insisting Missouri voters show a government-issued photo ID at the polls.
And they’re meeting fierce resistance.
Leaders of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus said Tuesday the Republican push aims to “disenfranchise and suppress” certain voters — the disabled, the young and minorities.
“This is nothing more than a modern-day poll tax,” said Rep. Brandon Ellington, a Kansas City Democrat, referring to the tax implemented in some states in the late 19th century to shut out black voters. “Voting is a right. It’s not a privilege. They’re trying to turn it into a privilege.”
Republicans reject the accusations, instead arguing a need to combat voter fraud.
“This is about protecting the sanctity of our vote,” said Rep. Stanley Cox, a Sedalia Republican who is sponsoring the measure. “It is certainly one of the highest principles that exist in a representative government.”
For seven years running, the party has tried to push through the new standards. Each time, the effort has been derailed by either a court ruling or Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto. Kansas adopted a voter photo ID law in 2011.
Now, emboldened by new veto-proof supermajorities, Missouri Republicans tout dueling voter ID proposals making their way through both the House and Senate.