1 min read
Posted on 04.21.08
  • 1 min read
  • Posted on 04.21.08

The Missouri General Assembly is considering legislation (HCS for HB 1317) that may make it more difficult for some St. Louisans to vote. The bill would require anyone registering to vote to submit proof of citizenship - a passport, birth certificate, or a special kind of drivers license also authorized by the bill - as a condition. Right now, the law requires prospective voters to swear that they are US citizens.

The intended target of this bill is the mythical illegal immigrant who votes in Missouri elections. The actual targets, though, are more likely to be the very real low-income, minority, or senior residents who don't travel enough to have a passport, don't drive, or can't negotiate the complicated (and possibly expensive) task of tracking down a birth certificate and the marriage and divorce documents that prove that 80-year old "Mary Jones Taylor Smith" of Tower Grove East was born in Alaska as "Ann Mary Jones."

I agree with St. Louis Board of Elections commissioner Scott Leiendecker, who told the Post-Dispatch last weekend that "registering to vote needs to be something that's simple for individuals to do."