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Debate on voter ID underway in Mo. House

Mo. Capitol
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
Mo. Capitol

TheMissouri Househas begun debate on a bill that wouldrequire voters to show photo identification at the polls.

House leaders had intended to hold a first-round vote on the measure Monday, but it was delayed because of the large number of Democrats who spoke against the bill.  Joe Aull(D, Marshall) used former Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton (D) as an example of how he says some elderly citizens could be disenfranchised by the bill.  Aull says Skelton attempted to get a photo ID for himself after the 2006 voter ID law was passed, but he was turned down.

“If Ike Skelton gets turned down for a photo ID in his hometown, what about the average person on the street?" Aull said.  "Will that average person go back again, and go back and get the necessary documentation to get that photo ID?  A lot of people probably won’t.”

The bill’s supporters say it would combat voter fraud in Missouri, and would not disenfranchise anyone.

The back-and-forth got pretty heated at times. State Representative Stephen Webber(D, Columbia) suggested that some military veterans could be disenfranchised if required to show a photo ID at the polls.  The bill's sponsor, Speaker Pro-tem Shane Schoeller(R, Willard), took exception to that charge.

“So don’t tell me veterans are gonna be disenfranchised, because that’s why they went and fought, to make sure that we have free, fair and honest elections, Gentleman," Schoeller nearly shouted.

Webber responded:  “Gentleman, that’s a lot of fake anger to work up over a question I didn’t even ask.” “No, it’s not anger, it’s passion," Schoeller shot back, "because I have respect for our veterans!” 

Debate on the bill is expected to resume Tuesday.

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