Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft stopped in Mexico, Mo. last Wednesday to meet with area residents for a Missouri Photo Voter ID Informational Meeting at the Mexico-Audrain County Library.
The stop in Mexico, Mo. was the final of four meetings for his busy day that started in Higginsville and also included Richmond and Carrollton.
Ashcroft’s office has held nearly 60 informational meetings across the state since June 1.
“We just wanted to make sure that as we travel the state, we get the word out, that people know if you are a registered voter, you can vote,” he told those who attended the Mexico, Mo. meeting.
Ashcroft noted that the law didn’t do anything to change the absentee ballot or voter registration.
He said it just applies to in-person voting.
With the new law, the government issued photo ID will be asked for by poll workers.
He said about 90%-91% of pollsters used their driver’s license to vote during a St. Louis election in early June.
If someone doesn’t have a government issued form of voter ID, registered voters will sign a provided statement along with one of the following forms of identification: voter registration card; ID from a Missouri university, college, vocational, or technical school; utility bill; bank statement; government check; paycheck;
or other government document with a voter’s name and address displayed.
As this method allows them to vote, the Secretary of State’s office will follow by sending a letter to these voters to help them in getting a free government issued photo ID to help voters in future elections.
Ashcroft said his office, through the letter, will help voters obtain their photo ID by helping them to obtain documentation needed. This documentation might include records relating to certified copies of either a birth certificate, marriage license, divorce decree, adoption papers, social security card with proper name, or naturalization papers that prove citizenship to a local license office.
If the voter has no ID and is unable to sign a statement along with having no other form of identification, these registered voters can still vote on a provisional ballot.
The vote then counts if the signature matches the signature in the voter registry or if the voter goes back to the polling place and later shows a photo ID.
Ashcroft went on to address those who currently do not have a form of photo ID.
“The second part of this law is also quite important,” he noted. “Is that if you are an individual that doesn’t have a government issued photo ID, right now you’re not fully able to participate in society. You’re not. There’s just so many things that you need to have that photo ID that you can use for. And under this law, the Secretary of State’s office is empowered to facilitate getting not only the underlining necessary documents for ID’s, paying for those documents, but also working with the Department of Revenue that pays for the actual nondriver’s license so that people that currently do not have government issued photo IDs can get them entirely for free. And we hope that will also bring those individuals more fully into a society and allow them to more fully participate.”
Missouri voters passed Amendment 6 last November with 63% or more than 1.7 million voters supporting the measure to allow state government to require the presentation of voter IDs at public elections in order to prove national and state citizenship.
During the meeting, Ashcroft thanked those in attendance who said they have been poll workers. He added that it’s been challenging to find workers at some polling locations in the state as some have actually been closing due to the challenge to find the workers.