Missouri Overhauls Election Law: Requires Photo ID, Bans Drop Boxes

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed new election law on Wednesday that requires voters to show a photo ID to vote in the upcoming election.

The new law, House Bill 1878, requires voters to show one of the following photo IDs at polling sites. However, it does not prohibit voters without ID from voting. Voters coming to the polls without the required photo ID can cast a provisional ballot with a signature on the ballot envelope and an affidavit. The envelope will get marked, signifying they didn’t verify the voter’s identification. The voter can return on the same day with a photo ID, or election officials will verify the signature with the voter’s signature on file at the election agency.

The legislation also bans ballot boxes of absentee ballots, mandates cybersecurity reviews, requires electronic voting machines to be “air-gapped” or not directly connected to the internet and prohibits private donations for elections, except for personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) water, or food for election workers.

The changes come amid renewed emphasis on election law and voting integrity. Democrats have sought to expand voting access through mail-in voting during the 2020 pandemic. Meanwhile, Republicans have scrutinized ways to strengthen election integrity, which they contend will cut down on potential fraud.

Missouri’s Republican Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft, called the measure “one of the strongest election laws in the country.”

“It makes sure that it’s easy to vote, it’s harder to cheat, and the people can have trust in the results,” Ashcroft said.

Ashcroft also rebuffed claims that the photo ID mandate harms minority voters.

“It seems pretty racist to me to say that the color of skin determines whether or not someone knows how to get an ID,” Ashcroft said Wednesday.

The Epoch Times reported that in 2016, Republican lawmakers put a constitutional amendment on the ballot authorizing photo ID. It received 63% approval from the voters. However, lower courts placed a hold on the accompanying law enacting the actual photo ID requirement.

HB 1878 passed the Missouri House and Senate earlier this year, and the new law will go into effect Aug. 28, 2022.