ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Missouri's Secretary of State and two state representatives launched the campaign this morning to educate people about Missouri's new controversial photo voter ID law. Voters passed the constitutional amendment in November, but it doesn't take effect until June.
The campaign about the new law is called 'Show It 2 Vote.'
State Representative Justin Alferman (R-Hermann) crafted the law, which Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft supports. Representative Bruce Franks Jr., a Democrat from the City of St. Louis, opposes the measure, but is committed to implementing it.
“The biggest hurdle right now is education and making sure that the information is disseminated accurately and making sure that every voter is informed on how these procedures will be taking place,” Alferman said.
Voters passed the legislation, known as Amendment 6, in November by a wide margin. The measure requires Missouri voters to present a current government issued photo ID to vote. However, there are options if voters don't have a current photo ID.
Voters can show something like a utility bill then sign a statement verifying that they are who they say they are under penalty of perjury.
If a voter doesn't have a photo ID or any documents about their identity, they can cast a provisional ballot. Then they can either return to the polling place with a photo ID or have their signature matched up with the voter registry. If voters don't have a photo ID, the state will pay for the ID and the documentation required to get it.
The law says local election authorities would also be allowed to take a photo of voters without IDs, that photo would then become part of that voter's file.
Opponents like Representative Franks fear the new law will lead to voter suppression and disenfranchisement. But supporters like Representative Alferman and Secretary Ashcroft say the law is about combating voter fraud and making sure every vote is cast and counted fairly.
“Everyone is eligible to vote if they're a registered voter in Missouri. There’s all this talk of disenfranchisement. This law doesn’t disenfranchise a single individual,” Ashcroft said.
"If all you have on is your bathing suit and you don't have your wallet or your purse with you, you will be allowed to vote."
Ashcroft, however, was not able to detail just how big of a problem voter fraud is in Missouri. Since the new law doesn't go into effect until June 1, it does not impact the March 7 primary election in the City of St. Louis or the general election in April.
Rep. Franks said he would support educating the public and following the law.
“This is a great solution for a problem that we don’t have,” Franks said. “It’s the law now. Now a lot of things get passed in a law that we don’t necessarily agree with, that I whole heartedly don’t agree with, but now that it's law, I need to do the best that I can to implement it.”
Voters will not be required to have to a photo ID if they are eligible to vote either tomorrow or in April.
The first main round of elections that this new measure will affect will come in August.
For its part, the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition is working with the state to help educate the public.
“Similar laws that have been passed in places like North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Texas, confusion has been the biggest barrier in the process, confusion by voters and poll workers, in fact,” said Denis Lieberman, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition.
To learn more visit: ShowIt2Vote.com