Governor Jay Nixon today vetoed a resolution state lawmakers passed last month that sought to require Missourians to show a government-issued photo ID in order to vote. The legislation would have asked voters to approve the measure on the November 2012 ballot.
Today that ballot initiative appears all but dead following the governor's veto that strikes down implementation of the bill.
In a letter defending his position
, Nixon said the bill would disproportionately impact senior citizens and persons with disabilities who are less likely than most people to have a driver's license.
Under the bill, those without a photo ID could still cast a provisional ballot that would be tallied if their signature matched one on file with the election board. Nixon, however, said such a provision would disenfranchise voters whose signature may not look exactly like one signed years or decades earlier.
Republican lawmakers passed a similar bill in 2006 requiring voters to obtain a government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot. The state Supreme Court stuck down that legislation as unconstitutional. This year's legislation -- also headed by GOP legislators -- would have steered around the constitutionality issue by mandating that the government pay for anyone who could not afford to purchase an ID on their own.
But Nixon argues that even that would force would a time-consuming process that could impede or discourage citizens from
voting who have lawfully cast ballots their entire adult lives.
In 2009, some 230,000 registered Missouri voters did not have a government-issued photo ID, according to a Secretary of State survey cited in the Post-Dispatch.