By Jay Ashcroft
Missouri Secretary of State
Since taking office in January and being tasked with implementing the voter ID law, we have been sharing one simple, easy-to-understand message: “If you’re registered to vote, you can vote.”
Missouri’s new voting requirements took effect on June 1, 2017, and local election authorities have held two successful elections thus far. Not one registered voter was turned away from casting a ballot on election day. Our local election officials and poll workers deserve to be recognized for their hard work and dedication.
The law, which 63 percent of Missourians supported last November, includes a provision requiring the government to provide individuals without a photo ID a free government-issued non-driver license.
The law also directs my office to help secure the supporting documents required to obtain such an ID. These provisions were included in Missouri’s statute to ensure the law not only prohibits ineligible voters from committing vote fraud but also guarantees all eligible voters their opportunity to vote.
Despite what you may have heard, critics of the law cannot point to one single individual who will be denied their right to vote on election day. We have been aggressively working to train poll workers, communicate with election authorities, and inform Missourians about the simple yet important message, “if you’re registered to vote, you can vote.”
In a July 11 election in St. Louis, about 93 percent of voters used photo IDs, 6.6 percent used voter registration cards and 2.2 percent used another form of identification. Out of more than 1,900 ballots cast on election day, just three provisional ballots were cast. Every ballot cast was counted.
In fewer than 8 weeks, we’ve almost 130 meetings across Missouri, covering more than two-thirds of the counties in our state. We’ve helped hundreds of individuals with questions through the ShowIt2Vote Hotline (866-868-3245) and our ShowIt2Vote.com website and provided tens of thousands of flyers and other educational materials to anyone who asked.
We will continue to work diligently to protect the fundamental right of all registered Missouri voters to cast a ballot. Our job as election officials isn’t to pick winners and losers, it’s to ensure we uphold the integrity of the ballot box. We are proud to work with the men and women serving our state as county clerks, election boards and poll workers, as everyone works together for successful elections in the future.
The bottom line: If you’re an eligible registered Missouri voter, you can vote.