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Photo voter ID moving again in Missouri Senate

File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Democrats in the Missouri Senate have ended their filibuster of a proposal to require photo identification at the polls.

House Bill 1631 was changed to allow voters without a photo ID to cast a regular ballot if they sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, that they are who they say they are. They would also have to present some other form of ID, such as a utility bill.

The bill's Senate handler is Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit.

"This is nowhere near where I would want it perfectly," Kraus said, "but I think the good piece of legislation is one that both sides walk away (from) and say, 'I'm not happy with exactly the way it looks, but it's something I can live with.'"

Any voter without a photo ID who refuses to sign a statement would instead be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, which would not be counted unless that voter's signature were verified or a valid photo ID provided within three days of the election.

Kraus is seeking the Republican nomination for secretary of state, the office that oversees elections in Missouri.

Democrats stood down from their filibuster because of the changes Kraus made to the bill.

"Is it what we want? Is it perfect? No!" said Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City. "Are we still going to vote 'no' on it? I can't speak for you, but I'm probably still going to vote 'no' on it ... but (the negotiations) got us to a place where this substitute will disenfranchise less voters that when we started" this debate.

Holsman added, "I can tell you that the Senate functioned properly (with HB 1631), as opposed to how it functioned with SJR 39."

He was referring to Senate Republicans' use of the "nuclear option" (the parliamentary move of "calling the previous question" to end debate) to force a vote on SJR 39, which resulted in a near shut-down of the Missouri Senate for nearly a week. That measure, which would have shielded clergy and business owners from being penalized for not providing their services to same-sex weddings, was defeated last week by a House committee.

The Senate has not voted yet on the revised photo ID bill, nor on its companion constitutional amendment, HJR 53, but is expected to sometime this week. Once it passes, it would then go back to the House, which would have to approve the changes made by the Senate.  Missouri voters would need to approve the constitutional amendment before the photo-ID requirement could be imposed.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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