Even State Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville, who represents Seymour and eastern Webster County in the Missouri House of Representatives, admits he has brought his voter I.D. bill before the legislature many times.
“If you’ve been on [the Missouri House Elections] Committee in the past, you are not seeing any new information here today,” he said. “This is basically the same bill I’ve been presenting for the last several years.”
Dugger, the former Wright County Clerk, presented his bill to the House Elections Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 27, and it was met with significant hostility from lawmakers, interest groups and everyday Missourians.
“I’m not exactly speechless, but I am just amazed that you have the chutzpah to keep bringing this back to this committee,” said State Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County.
Staff from Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office also opposed the measure: “The bottom line is the legislation is
just too restrictive,” said John Scott, who works for Kander. “We can’t support anything that would disenfranchise a single eligible Missouri voter.”
Mitch Hubbard, a former Republican candidate for Missouri Secretary of State, praised Dugger’s repeated insistence on bringing up the bill.
“In England, we had William Wilberforce, who for 30 years filed legislation to end the slave trade,” Hubbard said. “It took 30 years, but he kept doing it. This is not a comparable issue, but sometimes it’s important to keep important issues in the forefront even if they don’t pass right away.”
Denise Lieberman, senior attorney for the Advancement Project, worked on the case that resulted in a federal judge declaring Wisconsin’s photo I.D. law unconstitutional. She told the committee Missouri’s proposal is unlike any other.
“The provision before you stacks up as the most strict in the nation,” Lieberman said.
While there was an overwhelming amount of testimony against the bill, one local resident is in favor of the proposal.
Jefferson City resident Susan Gibson said those following the rules have nothing to worry about.
“For hundreds of years, families like mine who have been here and followed the rules don’t have a problem with documentation,” Gibson said.
“It’s just that simple.”
Last week, the bill was voted out of committee with a 9-3 majority and now will be seen by the entire Missouri House of Representatives.