Voting went smoothly Tuesday at Kansas City polling places in the first election under Missouri’s new law requiring voters to show a photo ID, election officials said.
“I have not had one complaint,” said Lauri Ealom, the Democratic director of the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners.
Ealom had been visiting polling locations all day and said she had not noticed any confusion about the law. She expected turnout was 10 percent or less.
Tammy Brown, the Republican director of the Jackson County Election Board, and Tiffany Ellison, the Democratic director of the Clay County election board, also said no problems had been reported.
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“As far as voter ID, we haven’t had any issues,” Ellison said.
Voters approved the constitutional amendment last year. Acceptable photo IDs include a Missouri driver’s license, government-issued ID, passport or military ID.
People without a photo ID can still vote, according to the Missouri secretary of state’s office. To vote without a photo ID, you can:
▪ Show another form of identification, such as a bank statement or a paycheck, and sign a statement confirming your identity.
▪ Cast a provisional ballot. That ballot will be counted only if the voter comes back to show a photo ID or if the voter’s signature matches the one in the voter registry.
The state is required to provide free government-issued photo IDs for voters who request one.
The Missouri Voter Coalition stationed volunteers at metro-area polling places to tell voters about the new requirement. The volunteers handed out cards outlining the new law’s requirements and polled voters about their experiences after they’d voted.
Denise Lieberman, coordinator of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, said a volunteer reported one instance of confusion about voter ID in the morning. A veteran tried to show a military ID and was denied at the National Archives polling place, Lieberman said. But he had his driver’s license in his car and was able to vote.
Volunteers outside the polls talked to some voters who had a photo ID but were not aware that they would have to show it to vote, Lieberman said. Others said they knew they had to show a photo ID only because they’d seen it on the news this week.
Lieberman said that was surprising because voters in special elections are often well-versed on the issues and are more likely to be aware that the law had changed. In a general election, she said, many more voters might be caught off guard.
“It’s indicative of a concern that coalition has raised with (Secretary of State Jay) Ashcroft that his office needs to do a better job of getting the word out to voters,” she said.
In June, the American Liberties Civil Union and the Advancement Project filed suit against the state, claiming Missouri has not provided mandated funding to supply photo IDs and educate voters about the new voter ID law.
Proponents of voter ID say it will cut down on voter fraud. Opponents contend that the law disenfranchises voters who do not have a government-issued photo ID, including some minority voters, college students and the elderly.