We've known for awhile that republicans are dead set on disenfranchising tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Missourians by requiring voter ID to vote even though the main sponsor of the bill, Rep. Shane Schoeller (R-Willard) can't even produce ONE instance of voter fraud in the Show-Me State.
It gets worse though. Schoeller's constitutional amendment wouldn't just affect those without a government issued photo ID, it would adversely affect active duty military personnel serving overseas, 11,000 of whom voted in the 2008 elections. Schoeller's amendment would require that each and every absentee ballot sent in have a copy of the photo ID and would remove the ability for Missourians to send the ballot directly to the county clerk. It would require that the ballot be sent to a surrogate who would then be required to return it to the polling station.
Take for instance my family member serving in Afghanistan who will be forced to request an absentee ballot while he is serving his country in a war zone, dodging Taliban bullets and bombs. Somehow, he will have to find a xerox machine in the mountains of whatever region he's serving in (I just know they'll be able to find a cave with a fax/xerox machine), copy his photo ID, send his ballot back with his newly copied ID to his designated surrogate and then hope that individual remembers to take it to the polling location on election day. Totally not too many hoops to jump through for the soldier serving his country in an effort to protect our freedoms - like being able to vote - thousands of miles away from his family in a war zone.
All this because Schoeller thinks there might be voter fraud in the future.
In the Springfield News-Leader:
Rep. Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, introduced a bill that requires Missouri residents to show proof of citizenship when requesting an absentee ballot.
The bill also removes a measure letting Missouri residents mail in a completed ballot.
Instead, that ballot must be returned to a polling station by a surrogate, who is designated in writing by the person requesting a ballot.
Rep. Jason Kander (D-Kansas City), candidate for Secretary of State and defender of every Missourian's constituationally guaranteed right to vote, had this to say:
Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City, said not letting voters mail in a completed ballot would create hardships for active duty military personnel or people who cannot make it to the voting booth on Election Day.
“That takes away their best option, or it makes it impossible (to vote),” Kander said.
Kander, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, is the only Democrat running for Secretary of State. Schoeller is one of three Republicans vying to for the position.
Kander discounted his bid for Secretary of State as a factor in his opposition to Schoeller's bill.
“To me, this is not a complicated issue,” he said. “No one should prevent an active member of the military from voting.”