Just before the highly-anticipated midterm elections, is which is expected to been an overwhelming red wave, one state’s governor just signed a measure that was ultimately passed by the state House and Senate that is believed to significantly improve the integrity of our elections.
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After nearly two decades of Republicans pushing for the requirement, Missourians are finally going to have to show a photo ID to vote this fall. The long fought fight finally proved to be worth it as Republicans believe that they have finally protected democracy in the state of Missouri controlled by the GOP.
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“The new Missouri election law also will open a two-week window for people to cast absentee ballots in person without needing to cite a reason why they can’t vote on Election Day – a provision pushed by Democrats as a compromise for not attempting to block the photo ID requirement,” according to a report Thursday from KMBC.
As well as controlling both chambers of the legislature, the Missouri Republican Party also has the governor’s office to its credit.
As of August 28, the new law will be implemented; the state’s primaries are scheduled for August 2.
In addition, the report states the following:
It comes amid a renewed national emphasis on election laws. Democrats in many states have sought to expand voter access following widespread mail-in voting during the pandemic-affected 2020 elections while many Republicans have pursued new voting restrictions that they contend would cut down on the potential for fraud.
Missouri’s measure was backed by Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. who called it “one of the strongest election laws in the country.”
“It makes sure that it’s easy to vote, it’s harder to cheat and the people can have trust in the results,” Secretary Ashcroft told reporters.
A photo identification law for voters is not only in effect in Missouri, but 17 other states already have laws on the books as of this spring, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Furthermore, 19 other states have laws requiring proof of identification other than photos in addition to the proof of address.
“Missouri’s new law also bans the use of drop boxes to collect absentee ballots, mandates cybersecurity reviews and prohibits private donations for elections, with exceptions for personal protective equipment, water or food for election workers,” KMBC reported. “It abolishes Missouri’s presidential primary, leaving parties to instead hold caucuses or conventions, and it allows voters to register by party starting in 2023.”
“Missouri Republicans have sought for years to impose photo ID requirements but have been rebuffed by courts. The state first adopted a photo ID requirement in 2006 that was ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court,” he report noted.
It is worth noting that, when passing the bill, Republican legislators referred to the 2016 ballot measure, which had received 63 percent of the popular vote, which authorized a constitutional amendment requiring voters to present a photo ID to vote. Lower courts, however, put on hold an accompanying law that actually mandates the photo ID requirement.
In January of 2020, the state Supreme Court struck down a provision that required voters to submit a sworn statement without a voter ID before they could vote. The ruling was considered “misleading” and “contradictory.”
Missouri’s latest election law allows people to vote without a government-issued ID, but it will be counted if the voter returns later in the day with a photo ID or if the vote can be verified by election officials. This new law has similar provisions to the previous one, so residents who do not have a photo ID will be provided with a free photo ID from the state.
As they have in the past, black legislators blasted the bill and claimed, without clarifying what they mean, that voter ID laws are inherently racist.
Despite this assertion, Ashcroft pushed back on it and put the onus back on the lawmakers.
“It seems pretty racist to me to say that the color of skin determines whether or not someone knows how to get an ID,” Ashcroft said Wednesday.
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In the meantime, on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that will very likely determine the result of the next several presidential and congressional elections.
According to a report by Just The News, the case relates to whether Republican legislators from North Carolina had the authority to draw a partisan election map without state judges interfering, and whether they could proceed without state judges’ interference.
The case of Moore vs. Harper, asks the court to uphold the concept – known as the “independent state legislature” theory – that state legislators have the sole and “independent” authority to set rules for federal elections in their states, without interference or oversight by the governor or the state judges.