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Missouri House Bill 1878 went into effect August 28, 2022, requiring all Missouri voters to show photo identification in order to vote in the Nov. 8 election and in future elections.
If you’re not familiar with it, here’s what you need to know.
On June 30, Governor Parson signed Missouri House Bill 1878 into law, requiring everyone voting in Missouri to provide a current, Missouri-issued photo identification to vote. While absentee ballots are still permitted, the law repeals the use of mail-in ballots and ballot drop boxes.
While there are currently lawsuits filed by the League of Women Voters and Missouri NAACP challenging whether or not this photo ID requirement is legal, until that lawsuit is resolved in favor of Missouri voters, Missouri voters must provide one of the acceptable forms of ID when voting. For more information on both the lawsuit and the photo ID requirement, call the Election Protection Hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE) to learn how to contact your local election authority for up-to-date information.
This law affects more people than you might think. According to the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, “The State’s own data shows that the photo ID provision stands to burden more than 200,000 Missouri voters, disproportionately voters of color, seniors, voters with disabilities, young voters, and low-wage workers.”
According to the Missouri Developmental Disability Council, “Many self-advocates in Missouri experience barriers daily including lack of access to reliable transportation and lack of access to technology or the internet. Now, the law is adding the elimination of ballot drop boxes, the requirement of a state issued photo ID and the prohibition of supports like assistance filling out an absentee ballot or registering to vote. The Missouri Developmental Disability Council encourages all voters with disabilities to reach out to their local election authorities to make a plan for election day and ensure their needs are met as required by law.”
This law also affects people in more ways than you might think – just this past June, the American Medical Association adopted a resolution declaring that voting is a social determinant of health, meaning that they consider voting a critical factor in a spectrum of health and quality-of-life risks and outcomes.
Nimrod Chapel, Jr., President of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP, said: “We will work with the community to make sure the rights of Missouri voters are restored and everyone can have their vote counted. The NAACP has long raised concerns about Missouri’s efforts to implement a discriminatory voter ID law, and it is one of the reasons we have issued a travel advisory for the state. Democracy in Missouri is not a safe place for black voters.”
The NAACP was a plaintiff in 2017 challenging a prior iteration of Missouri’s photo ID law and vowed to take the matter to court again.
House Bill 1878 also makes it illegal to pay anyone to register more than 10 voters. Organizations that formerly hired staff to register voters as part of their work will have to halt that practice. Volunteers also face restrictions, and most must first register as a voter registration volunteer with the Secretary of State.
You can still register to vote, verify your registration status, and ask questions about what will be on your ballot at your library. All you have to do is ask!
While not all of our librarians can ask you if you’d like to register, any library staff member can respond to your voter registration request by showing you where you can register to vote online and by sharing a voter registration postcard with you. We can send that postcard to the election board for you, or you can deliver it yourself.
Any library staff member can respond to your request for voting information by helping you find your voter registration status, sample ballot, and polling location, providing KCEB voter education materials and sharing information on the library’s voter information page, directing you to online voter registration resources (specifically the Missouri Secretary of State’s voter registration site or the United States Election Assistance Commission voter registration resources — this is approved activity because you, the voter, are still registering yourself if you register online), providing the Missouri Secretary of State’s guidance on appropriate voter ID and how to obtain a valid voter ID, and helping direct voters to the library’s notary resources for absentee voting.
As a registered voter, you’ll have a two-week window in which to cast an absentee ballot without an excuse, provided you do so in person at the offices of your local election board. You must have your photo ID.
If you need a photo ID, the Kansas City Public Library can help with in-person assistance at our Central Library and with links to an array of resources. One of those resources, the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, will provide support and funding for Missourians to secure a photo ID. You can go to Showit2Vote and start the process to secure a Photo ID.
You’ll need to be vigilant about your voter registration status because the law allows the Secretary of State to order the removal of voters from the rolls at his discretion, outside the protections of federal guidelines under the National Voter Registration Act.
Take note of voter registration deadlines, like the Oct. 12 cutoff for the November 8 election.
You can check your registration status with the Jackson County Election Board or the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners, depending on your jurisdiction. You can also check at the Secretary of State’s website here.
Health Forward Foundation has long recognized the connection between voting and other forms of civic engagement and our health. There are many studies that support that voting improves health outcomes and leads to better health policy. Voting provides people an opportunity to elect into office representatives that are aligned with individual public health needs or share individual lived experiences. This understanding is what led Health Forward to establish our policy and civic engagement grants, and more recently, to prioritize Power in our purpose strategy and policy agenda, advocating for voting rights and supporting organizations that focus on voter engagement. Although HB 1878 continues to allow provisional ballot voting, studies have shown that only 3 in 10 provisional ballots cast are counted, negating provisional voting as a viable voting method. HB 1878 is deeply concerning and our hope is that the Missouri Supreme Court agrees.” ~McClain Bryant Macklin, Health Forward Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives
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