Editorials

Editorial: Why did Jay Ashcroft’s voter ID tour skip Kansas City?

A map on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website shows Jay Ashcroft’s Voter ID Informational Tour route.
A map on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website shows Jay Ashcroft’s Voter ID Informational Tour route.

What does Jay Ashcroft have against Kansas City?

Missouri’s secretary of state has a busy travel schedule this week, as he zigzags across the state to explain Missouri’s new photo identification requirements for voters. He’s covering a lot of territory, with four or five stops each day and plans to hit 21 cities in all.

Not Kansas City, though. At least not to spend time with voters and explain the new voting process, which might throw some for a loop.

But somehow, Ashcroft’s traveling road show made time for our city’s doughnuts and barbecue.

Twitter tells the tale. Brandon Alexander, co-director of Elections, apparently enjoyed a nice plate of fries and Arthur Bryant’s barbecue Monday evening after a day on the road with Ashcroft. Alexander posted a picture of the meat-lover’s delight with the message, “Great end to Day 1 on the #ShowIt2Vote Tour @ArthurBryantsKC!”

The next day, Ashcroft tweeted a photo after delivering a bag from LaMar’s Donuts to the secretary’s Kansas City office. He tweeted: “Our team in KC is working hard to make MO business friendly — enjoyed stopping by to say thanks and share a few @LaMarsDonuts.”

Official stops in Blue Springs and Raymore were the closest Ashcroft’s team came to Kansas City before heading for Nevada and Springfield. The secretary of state’s office assures that more cities will be included in future tours. But Kansas City didn’t make the cut this week.

St. Louis is getting plenty of face time, though. Ashcroft will make two stops there and will visit nearby St. Charles, Ferguson and Dardenne Prairie.

Here is what the secretary of state should have taken the time to share with voters in Kansas City. (Given his proximity to downtown, a stop at the Kansas City Election Board in Union Station would have been a nice setting in which to meet with voters.)

The new law went into effect June 1. Registered voters will be required to provide a Missouri driver’s license, a Missouri non-driver’s license, a passport or a military ID to vote. Or they can present a voter registration card, an ID from a Missouri university, college, vocational or technical school, a utility bill with their address, or a bank statement, among other documents. This second set of options requires them to sign a statement of eligibility as well.

The third option is for registered voters who show up to vote without any identification. They can vote on a provisional ballot but must return to their polling place and show a photo ID before their vote will count, or their signature must match the one in the voter registry.

With any luck, Ashcroft will explain all the details of the new law to Kansas City voters soon. We’ll bring the doughnuts.

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