“This [photo ID] mandate would disproportionately impact senior citizens and persons with disabilities, among others, who are qualified to vote and have been lawfully voting since becoming eligible to do so, but are less likely to have a driver’s license or government-issued photo ID,” Nixon said in a letter explaining his veto. “Disenfranchising certain classes of persons is not acceptable.”
A bold and smart move by Nixon. Missouri Republicans have already gotten in trouble before with Voter ID laws that the courts found to have been clear efforts to disenfranchise poor and minority voters. They tried again with clever new language and by trading a nine-day early voting period to get Democratic support, but Nixon didn't bite.
“Placing a cloud of uncertainty over ballots cast by qualified voters is inconsistent with an individual’s right to vote and have that vote counted,” Nixon said, later adding that it was “unacceptable to impede or discourage citizens from voting who have lawfully cast ballots their entire adult lives.”
In 2006, Republicans pushed through a photo ID bill that was later struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court. The court ruled that the law amounted to a "heavy and substantial burden on Missourians' free exercise of the right of suffrage."
In Missouri, voters are already required to provide some form of ID before casting a ballot, but the list includes some without a photo, such as a utility bill, bank statement or paycheck.
A 2009 study by the secretary of state's office estimated around 230,000 Missourians are registered to vote but lack a government-issued photo ID. A 2007 study by Washington University found that among blacks, the young and low-income residents -- historically among the most loyal Democratic voters -- about 80 percent of registered voters had access to a government-issued photo ID. This compares to around 90 percent of whites, middle class and middle-aged voters.
A coalition of groups -- including the NAACP, AARP, League of Women Voters and ACLU -- had called for Nixon to veto photo ID legislation. Claims that a voter ID law is needed to stave off voter fraud are ridiculous, critics argued, since there have been no instances of the type of voter fraud this bill aimed to prevent ever occurring in Missouri.
And that's the dead giveaway. When you hear Republicans say "we need to stop rampant voter fraud with these measures" they can never, ever seemingly name a single case where a voter ID law would have stopped fraud.
Meanwhile, this is the kind of thing Republicans do when they think nobody is watching.
Two aides to former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich (R) have been indicted for ordering what officials claim were deceptive robocalls intended to suppress Democratic turnout during Ehrlich's second run for the office last November.
Voters in Maryland started getting mysterious phone calls on election day last year, that told them to "relax" and not bother going to the polls because President Barack Obama and Gov. Martin O'Malley "have been successful."
"Everything is fine. The only thing left is to watch on TV tonight," the robocalls said.
Telling people to stay home and not vote. Because that's the kind of "freedom" Republicans think you should have. The GOP argument by the way? Telling people to stay home and not vote is "protected free speech".
It's good to see Democrats in the position to fight back on the rash of GOP measures for voter suppression nonsense are doing so. We'll need a lot more before this one dies.