“….it’s pretty simple, the, uh, bill is so blatantly unconstitutional that even the sponsors concede that the only way for it to ever take legal effect is to change our constitution….”
BILL OF RIGHTS
Elections and right of suffrage.
Section 25. That all elections shall be free and open; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.
Source: Const. of 1875, Art. II, § 9.
[emphasis in original]
SUFFRAGE AND ELECTIONS
Qualifications of voters–disqualifications.
Section 2. All citizens of the United States, including occupants of soldiers’ and sailors’ homes, over the age of eighteen who are residents of this state and of the political subdivision in which they offer to vote are entitled to vote at all elections by the people, if the election is one for which registration is required if they are registered within the time prescribed by law, or if the election is one for which registration is not required, if they have been residents of the political subdivision in which they offer to vote for thirty days next preceding the election for which they offer to vote: Provided however, no person who has a guardian of his or her estate or person by reason of mental incapacity, appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction and no person who is involuntarily confined in a mental institution pursuant to an adjudication of a court of competent jurisdiction shall be entitled to vote, and persons convicted of felony, or crime connected with the exercise of the right of suffrage may be excluded by law from voting.
Source: Const. of 1875, Art. VIII, § 2 (as amended November 4, 1958).
(Amended November 5, 1974)
[emphasis in original]
Think about that.
Yesterday Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) spoke on the Melissa Harris-Perry show against republican voter suppression efforts through voter ID legislation pending in the Missouri General Assembly:
Melissa Harris-Perry: Missouri republicans are ready to give the Show Me State motto a whole new meaning by introducing a requirement for showing voter ID.The Republican controlled state legislature recently held a hearing on a bill that would put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot this November which, if approved by voters, would allow for a voter ID law. The law would require Missouri voters to show state or federal government issued identification in order to cast a ballot. Military IDs would count. Student IDs would not. Missouri’s state Supreme Court, back in two thousand six, struck down a voter ID law and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive it two thousand eight. But at the end of January the Washington Post reported that Missouri Republicans believe they’ve fixed the objectionable provisions by allowing residents without proper identification to receive the new IDs they’ll need without cost. Still, Missouri’s Secretary of State says the bill could keep hundreds of thousands of current Missouri residents from voting. Joining me now from Missouri is Jason Kander, the Secretary of State for the Show Me State. Nice to have you with us, Mister Kander.
Secretary of State Jason Jander (D): Great to be with you, thanks so much.
Melissa Harris-Perry: Okay, so, given this insistence on this new voter ID provision I assume that there must be a serious problem with voter fraud in your state. can you tell me about what you have encountered as Secretary of State?
Secretary of State Kander: Well, you know, the sponsors of this legislation say that it’s targeted at voter impersonation fraud, which is something that we actually haven’t had in Missouri. Uh, so, you know, this would be the most extreme law in the entire country if it were passed. Two hundred and twenty thousand registered voters, uh, could be disenfranchised. So, in fact, even calling it a photo identification law I think sort of underplays it. It’s really a law that requires a very specific form of identification. So, as you mentioned, student IDs wouldn’t be good enough, the voter identification card you receive in the mail wouldn’t be good enough, an expired driver’s license, and actually, a military ID that has expired, you know, like a lot of veterans, you know, I, I carry my military idea still, like a lot of veterans. It expired in November twenty thirteen. If this law were to pass I wouldn’t be allowed to present it and vote in twenty sixteen. So, you know, a law like that, anything that’s gonna disenfranchise a single eligible voter, that’s something that I’m going to fight against.
Melissa Harris-Perry: So, Mister Kander, I think that that’s so important the, the clarification you made there because often when I’ve had this conversation with people who support voter ID here at the table they say to me, well, you know, you need an ID to get on a plane and all of those sorts of things. But the notion that, that is in fact quite hard to comply with this law, that it’s not just sort of reasonably demonstrate that you are who you say you are.
Secretary of State Kander: Right. Well, it makes, the bill, it makes a show of trying to say, well, we’re gonna, we’re gonna get an ID for, ID for you, the state’s gonna pay for it. But it really just makes a show of it. I mean, at the end of the day there’s still underlying documents that cost money, there’s the fact that you have to take off work, spend your time and your money to go stand in line to get an ID. And we’re talking about a constitutional right. So, it’s pretty outrageous. And, you know, you mentioned that, uh, the Republicans in my state like to say that they’ve fixed it. I think you’d find their fix pretty interesting. What it actually is, is we have of all the state constitutions in the country our state has one of the strongest voting rights provisions in a constitution anywhere in the country. So the Republican strategy here is to amend our state constitution, to weaken the voting rights provision and then pass the most extreme version of this kind of law in the entire country. So, it’s pretty simple, the, uh, bill is so blatantly unconstitutional that even the sponsors concede that the only way for it to ever take legal effect [crosstalk] is to change our constitution.
Melissa Harris-Perry: You know, that, look, let, so let me ask you this, because you as the Secretary of State being out this early in front of this, so you, you haven’t waited until, next week the, the state legislators, state legislators are voting on this, you’re talking at this point about trying to raise some awareness, about a change to a constitution. Why get in front of this so early?
Secretary of State Kander: Well this is a constitutional right. I mean, it’s incredibly important. You know, as I said, two hundred and twenty thousand registered voters in my state could be disenfranchised by this. Melissa, that’s eight percent, that number is eight percent of the number of people who voted in my state in the twenty-twelve presidential election in Missouri. That is a substantial number. And I’m the chief election official in my state. I have a couple of jobs, you know, that, that go with that. The first is to make sure that only eligible voters vote, but it also is to make sure that the eligible voter has the opportunity to vote. I take both of those really seriously.
Melissa Harris-Perry: Mister Kander, hold for me for just one moment. Dorian, I want to come out to you on this because it was striking to us that Missouri is now a state that I would be talking about in the context of voter ID law. And when you kind of look at the map of the fifty states you’re just seeing these expansive restrictive voter ID laws spreading. We did have it turned back in Pennsylvania. Uh, you know, both in Texas and North Carolina there that you see in yellow, those are being challenged by the DoJ. But all those states you see in red, these things are in place and, and now Missouri potentially bringing it up, too. What is happening here?
Dorian Warren: So, it, it’s clear, this is not just a southern strategy even though it’s [inaudible] in the south, but it is a strategy of the Republican Party. And if you can’t win by attracting new voters, what’s the alternative? Kick voters out, suppress the vote. And so this is essentially, we’re seeing the ghost of Jim Crow in all of these states come alive again. Republicans are breathing new life into Jim Crow laws, just under a different name. And it’s a strategy because they know they can’t attract new voters, so they have to restrict the entire electorate to try and rig the game to stay in power.
Melissa Harris-Perry: Yep. Mister Kander, in addition to being out in front of challenging this you’ve also taken proactive steps, things you, uh, folks in Missouri can now register to vote on line. Is that right?
Secretary of State Kander: Yeah, you know, I appreciate you mentioning that. Um, I’ve been in office a year. I’m very proud of our record of, of, you know, really following through on our philosophy of making sure that every eligible voter, uh, should meet more convenience at the polls. I think that that makes sense, that’s why we’re the sixteenth state now to have an online voter registration form. We’re pushing for early voting, uh, we actually for the first time have bipartisan legislation on it. I’m gonna continue to work on that. But again, I just think that my job is to make sure that, uh, there’s more convenience for eligible voters. And, for some reason, there are Republicans in my state and around the country who are very uncomfortable with that. And I don’t really understand that. I think that it’s pretty fundamental.
Melissa Harris-Perry: Mister Kander, you’re so eminently reasonable [laughter] you, you [crosstalk]….
Secretary of State Kander: Well, thank you.
Melissa Harris-Perry: ….may not get a lot of play on this cable TV situation. [laughter] Your voice is all moderate and you have all this empirical evidence and such. I, I appreciate you for joining us on MHP Show.
Secretary of State Kander: Hey, thanks very much.
Melissa Harris-Perry: Thanks. Thank you for joining us from St. Louis….
What the republican controlled House has proposed to change the Missouri Constitution:
SECOND REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 47
97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES COX (Sponsor), DUGGER, DOHRMAN, WALKER, ENTLICHER, WILSON, KELLEY (127), ANDERSON, DAVIS, ROWLAND, SWAN, CRAWFORD, MORRIS, HOSKINS, KOLKMEYER, GANNON, BROWN, PFAUTSCH, CROSS, GATSCHENBERGER, LEARA, REDMON, BERNSKOETTER, HURST, WHITE, MCGAUGH, FITZWATER AND LOVE (Co-sponsors).
4459L.01I D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk
Submitting to the qualified voters of Missouri an amendment to article VIII of the Constitution of Missouri, and adopting one new section relating to elections.
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring therein:
That at the next general election to be held in the state of Missouri, on Tuesday next following the first Monday in November, 2014, or at a special election to be called by the governor for that purpose, there is hereby submitted to the qualified voters of this state, for adoption or rejection, the following amendment to article VIII of the Constitution of the state of Missouri:
Section A. Article VIII, Constitution of Missouri, is amended by adding one new section, to be known as section 10, to read as follows:
Section 10. A person seeking to vote in person in public elections may be required by general law to identify himself or herself and verify his or her qualifications as a citizen of the United States of America and a resident of the state of Missouri by providing election officials with a form of identification, which may include requiring valid government-issued photo identification. Exceptions to the identification requirement may also be provided for by general law.
Section B. The official ballot title for section A shall read as follows:
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible under the Constitution of Missouri for the General Assembly to enact a general law requiring voters to show valid photo identification in order to vote in person at a public election?”.
[emphasis in original]
“….by providing election officials with a form of identification, which may include requiring valid government-issued photo identification….”
“….I mean, at the end of the day there’s still underlying documents that cost money, there’s the fact that you have to take off work, spend your time and your money to go stand in line to get an ID. And we’re talking about a constitutional right. So, it’s pretty outrageous. And, you know, you mentioned that, uh, the Republicans in my state like to say that they’ve fixed it. I think you’d find their fix pretty interesting. What it actually is, is we have of all the state constitutions in the country our state has one of the strongest voting rights provisions in a constitution anywhere in the country. So the Republican strategy here is to amend our state constitution, to weaken the voting rights provision and then pass the most extreme version of this kind of law in the entire country. So, it’s pretty simple, the, uh, bill is so blatantly unconstitutional that even the sponsors concede that the only way for it to ever take legal effect [crosstalk] is to change our constitution….”
Res ipsa loquitur.