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Missouri House advances bill requiring citizenship marker on driver’s licenses

The Missouri State House of Representatives, pictured here in Jan. 2024, voted Wednesday to pass legislation that would place marks on driver’s licenses indicating U.S. citizenship.
Tristen Rouse
St. Louis Public Radio
The Missouri House of Representatives, pictured in January, voted Wednesday to pass legislation that would place marks on driver’s licenses indicating U.S. citizenship.

Republicans in the Missouri House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would require future driver’s licenses and nondriver IDs to have a mark indicating if the holder is a U.S. citizen.

Members of the House voted 108-46 to pass the legislation out of the chamber. It now goes to the Senate.

No Democrat voted for the bill.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Stacy, R-Blue Springs, said it aims to reduce voter fraud in Missouri.

“Currently, it is difficult for election authorities to verify U.S. citizenship,” Stacy said. “They have little legal mechanism that is built into their processes to verify citizenship.”

If the bill were to pass, licenses issued and renewed in July 2025 and beyond would have a “distinguishing mark on the front of the license that specifies that the license holder is a citizen of the United States.”

Stacy said with new licenses and renewals, it would take until Jan. 1, 2031, for the policy to be fully implemented.

“Election authorities will have at least one tool in their toolbox to verify citizenship and prevent noncitizens from voting,” Stacy said.

Democrats spoke vehemently against the legislation on the House floor.

Rep. Ingrid Burnett, D-Kansas City, said the bill makes her embarrassed to serve in the House because she believes it might lead to greater discrimination against noncitizens.

“We have people coming from all over the world to our World Cup in two years and instead of figuring out how we're going to get ready for that, we're trying to figure out how we can discriminate against people who don't look like us,” Burnett said.

Rep. Bridget Walsh Moore, D-St. Louis County, said the legislation would create an “us versus them” mentality between citizens and noncitizens.

“We have put our own citizens in internment camps. We have mass migrated people to little plots of land that we think they deserve,” Walsh Moore said. “This is exactly who we are, I won't say it's not. But it's not who we have to be in the future. We can and should do better.”

Stacy said he was not characterizing noncitizens in a negative fashion in any way.

“We're just giving tools, the election authorities especially, a tool to ensure that only citizens vote in our elections,” Stacy said.

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.