On Wednesday, Governor Mike Parson signed a wide-ranging elections bill that includes requiring voters to present a government-issued photo identification to cast a ballot. Voter ID laws have passed the Missouri legislature several times, but have never withstood a legal challenge. Under HB1878, registered voters would either have to get a government-issued photo ID or be forced to cast a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot would be counted only if the voter returns later that day with a photo ID or if election officials can verify their signature based on voter records. Proponents of the law say it will discourage voter fraud; opponents say it will negatively impact voters of color, the young and the disabled.
The bill also allows Missourians to vote absentee at their election authority office without an excuse two weeks before an election. It also requires that automatic tabulating equipment and electronic voting systems be disconnected from the internet or any network, ends the presidential primary, and beginning January 1, 2023 requires the use of a paper ballot that is hand-marked by the voter.