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Two different Missouri Senate proposals to require photo IDs for voting

Voters wait to cast ballots Tuesday morning at Tower Grove Baptist Church in the Shaw neighborhood. (KWMU photo)
Voters wait to cast ballots Tuesday morning at Tower Grove Baptist Church in the Shaw neighborhood. (KWMU photo)

The battle by Republican lawmakers to restore photo identification requirements in Missouri has moved over to the Senate, where two rather different approaches are being considered.

First, there's Senate Bill 170, sponsored by Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, which is similar to the House bill passed last week. It would require Missouri voters to present a non-expired Missouri driver's license or non-expired non-driver's license (which would also contain a photograph), a non-expired photo ID issued by the Missouri National Guard, the U.S. armed forces, or the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, or any other Missouri or U.S.-issued document that contains a photograph of the voter.

Kraus says he has no preference whether the Senate takes up his bill or the House version.

"I think we'll probably take the House version because it's further along, and then we'll move it onto the floor," Kraus said.  "I think it'll be the House version, (but) I don't (yet) know that."

Kraus' bill would also allow those without a government-approved photo ID to cast a provisional ballot, which would be counted only if that person's identity is later verified.  Senate Bill 169, sponsored by fellow Republican Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, would allow those without a photo ID to cast an actual ballot, but under penalty of perjury.

"If you sign an affidavit, we're gonna trust you...it's under penalty of perjury, and if you break the law you never get to vote ever again in your life; that's the law," Schaaf said.  "I'm trying to find a sort-of middle-of-the-ground way that gives people more confidence in the system, makes it easier for people to vote, and doesn't cost too much money."

Both photo voter ID bills would also allow citizens to use absentee ballots without having to say why they can't vote on election day.  Both measures also underwent brief hearings Monday, but were not voted on.

Whichever bill is adopted by the Senate, SB 169, SB 170, or HB 30, it would not take effect unless the accompanying constitutional amendment were also to be passed by Missouri voters.  There are also two versions of that measure:  HJR 1 and SJR 5.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.