Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is confident the state's new voter ID law won’t disenfranchise anyone.
“I’ve spent over 70,000 miles traveling the state over the last two years, and I’ve challenged anyone to point to someone that can’t vote under this law that would’ve been able to vote under the prior law,” says Ashcroft, who was in Blue Springs Tuesday morning to explain how the law has changed. “No one’s been able to find someone.”
Last November, over the objections of civil rights groups, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring registered voters to show photo identification at the polls.
Opponents of the law point to what’s happened in Kansas, where restrictions have disenfranchised voters and Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the American Civil Liberties Union duke it out in court.
Ashcroft denounces groups who say Missouri’s new law will make it harder to vote as “deplorable.” He says voters without a photo ID will still be allowed to cast a ballot if they can prove who they are another way, such as by showing a voter registration card, school ID, utility bill, pay stub or government check.
“I want people to know that even if they don’t have that ID, they can vote if they’re registered,” Ashcroft says.
Voters without a government-issued photo ID can ask the Secretary of State’s Office for help getting one, especially if they’re having trouble obtaining an out-of-state birth certificate. The state will pay associated costs.
“Don’t go to all that hassle,” Ashcroft says. “Don’t wait on hold. Call us, let us help you with it.”
Ashcroft initially requested $1.4 million to implement the new voter ID law. The Legislature appropriated $100,000.
Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.