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Missouri Hopes To Make It Harder For Poor, Disabled, Elderly, Minorities To Vote

May 12, 2008

The idea that we should work to find ways to make it more difficult to cast a ballot seems like a past-time for the Missouri State Legislature.  The Missouri voter ID requirement, which the Supreme Court ruled to be constitutional, and which many of us understand to be better labeled as disenfranchisement, seems to be but the start of their efforts to stymie voting.  Now they want proof of citizenship. (Why don’t Missouri Republicans just vote for the entire state and be done with it?  Why even pretend that they care about the will of the voters and want them to even show up on Election Day? ) This new proof of citizenship idea smacks me of being so un-American.  I think perhaps the Missouri Legislature should instead show proof that enough oxygen is getting to the brains of their members.

The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote.

Sponsors of the amendment — which requires the approval of voters to go into effect, possibly in an August referendum — say it is part of an effort to prevent illegal immigrants from affecting the political process. Critics say the measure could lead to the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legal residents who would find it difficult to prove their citizenship.

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“Three forces are converging on the issue: security, immigration and election verification,” said Dr. Robert A. Pastor, co-director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University in Washington. This convergence, he said, partly explains why such measures are likely to become more popular and why they will make election administration, which is already a highly partisan issue, even more heated and litigious.

The Missouri secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, a Democrat who opposes the measure, estimated that it could disenfranchise up to 240,000 registered voters who would be unable to prove their citizenship.

In most of the states that require identification, voters can use utility bills, paychecks, driver’s licenses or student or military ID cards to prove their identity. In the Democratic primary election last week in Indiana, several nuns were denied ballots because they lacked the required photo IDs.

Measures requiring proof of citizenship raise the bar higher because they offer fewer options for documentation. In most cases, aspiring voters would have to produce an original birth certificate, naturalization papers or a passport. Many residents of Arizona and Missouri already have citizenship information associated with their driver’s licenses, and within a few years all states will be required by the federal government to restrict licenses to legal residents.

Critics say that when this level of documentation is applied to voting, it becomes more difficult for the poor, disabled, elderly and minorities to participate in the political process.

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2 Comments
  1. May 13, 2008 2:28 PM

    You know as well as I do that the rules of the delegate selection process were known by all the candidates prior to each state casting votes. Even Hillary played by the rules until AFTER the process was over, and then decided to change the rules to fit her needs.

    Even you must be able to grasp that fact.

    Both Flordia and Michigan will have delegates at the convention. That is what these end game conversations are all about right now within the Obama and Hillary camps. When she drops out all will be quite clear.

  2. May 13, 2008 6:16 AM

    I just had to laugh at most of this rant but the one line that put me into stitches, “Why even pretend that they care about the will of the voters “.

    That is an excellent question to ask democrat leadership who are ignoring the will of the people in two states, FLA and MI and then use something called SUPERDELEGATES who have SUPER powers, that allow these SUPER people to vote against the WILL of the people when it comes to who their candidate will be.

    I think this is a good time to use that favorite buzzword from the progressive left, disenfranchisement.

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