New Missouri law requires photo ID to vote in November midterms, thereafter

(The Center Square) – Missouri’s elections are secure and Republican Gov. Mike Parson said a bill he signed into law requiring a photo identification to vote would maintain that status.

Parson signed House Bill 1878, sponsored by John Simmons, R-Washington, and four other bills into law on Wednesday at the State Capitol. At the end of the legislative session, Republicans called the elections bill the most important document sent to the governor. Democrats said it was the worst.

The law won’t be in effect for primary elections on Aug. 2. It becomes law on Aug. 28, making the November midterms the first election under the new requirements.

A photo identification requirement for voting was passed in 2016 but was ruled unconstitutional in 2020 by the Missouri Supreme Court for requiring a sworn statement to cast a non-provisional ballot.

“In 2020 and years prior, Missouri has conducted free, fair, and secure elections, but with changing technologies and new emerging threats, we want to ensure they remain that way,” Parson said in a statement announcing the signing. “HB 1878 strengthens our election processes and gives Missourians confidence that their voices are being accurately and securely recorded at the ballot box.”

The 58-page election bill allows people without a photo ID to cast a provisional ballot, however they must return to the polling place before 7 p.m. with a proper photo ID for the ballot to be counted. Or, the person’s signature must match the signature on file with the election authority.

“Our election system is a cornerstone of our Republic,” Simmons said in a statement. “Faith and confidence in the process is a solemn responsibility by voters themselves and those conducting elections. A photo ID requirement is but one common sense measure the vast majority of Missourians support.”

Drop boxes are now banned by the new law. Missouri or any political subdivision will be prohibited from receiving private money for preparing, administering or conducting an election, including registering voters.

Voters will be allowed to cast absentee votes in person at their local election authority two weeks prior to the election. Electronic vote counting machines will be prohibited after Jan. 1, 2024, and the official ballot of the state will be paper. Automatic vote tabulating equipment and all data processing machines used for counting votes and tabulating results must not be connected to a network.

Other bills signed into law included:

Senate Bill 745: Protects personal information of municipal utility customers from being disclosed under the Sunshine Law. Utilities can apply to public service commissions for a one-time rate increase due to weather conditions or conservation.

Senate Bill 820: Solar energy systems purchased and installed by solar energy companies are exempt from sales tax.

House Bill 1606: The omnibus bill includes requiring deeds to have the marital status of all grantors to prevent titling discrepancies and defects.

House Bill 1552: Changes charter school funding and modifies annual charter school performance publications.

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