Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft visited Jackson Wednesday as part of his “Show it to Vote” informational tour. The stop was part of a week-long tour of the state to inform citizens about the new ID requirement to vote.
In November, Missouri legislatures voted to require voters to present photo identification before they cast their ballot. Critics say the law disproportionately affects the eldest and poorest citizens of the state because the law forces those citizens who may not be able to afford or gain access to an ID to lose their voting right.
Ashcroft said this isn’t the case.
“If you’re registered to vote, you get to vote,” he said.
Previous Missouri law required voters to present a photo ID of any kind or present an alternative form of identification including a utility bill, bank statement or government document proving their identity and a
ddress. The new law will require voters who present alternative identification to sign a statement saying they understand the law requires ID. Those who sign that statement will be contacted by the Secretary of State’s Office to begin the process of getting a free ID.
“We no longer have to waste your tax dollars sending notices to everyone who we already know has an ID,” Ashcroft said. “Now we have those signed statements and we know who to contact to help them obtain an ID.”
During his presentation at the Jackson Senior Center, Ashcroft explained the law requires the state to help those without photo identification acquire a non-drivers license free of charge. Ashcroft says this will cost the state one point seven million dollars.
Last year, districts in St. Louis ran out of ballots and sent hundreds of people away from their polling stations. The law also requires provisional ballots be provided at every poll location. Voters who vote on a provisional ballot can present their ID later in the day or have their signature scanned and checked with the signature on their voter registry.
“We are actually expanding who can vote if a problem occurs,” Ashcroft said.
Ashcroft said the law was needed to prevent voter fraud, but that this law also helps those who need an ID get an ID.
“There are a lot of reasons why people don’t have IDs, but this will help them get those IDs completely free,” Aashcroft said.
The IDs are completely free, Ashcroft emphasized. The state covers the cost of the ID and the cost to obtain the necessary document if someone doesn’t have them, even if the documents are out of state.
Registered voters who need an ID are encouraged to contact the Secretary of State’s office ShowIt2Vote Hotline at 866-868-3245 or email ShowIt2Vote@sos.mo.gov.