If you’re registered to vote in the April 3 election, don’t worry about the state’s new law requiring photo IDs at the polls – you’ll be allowed to cast a ballot.
That’s the word from County Clerk Randy Holman for Jefferson County voters in advance of the April 3 election, the first large-scale election since the state Legislature passed the photo ID law in 2017.
Holman said in the two small elections held since then, in November 2017 and last month, enforcement of the new law was not a problem.
“The intent of the law is to require a photo ID from every voter,” Holman said. “Since the new law took effect, we had two elections, and we found that 96 percent of the voters in Jefferson County could show a driver’s license, which is a valid form of ID under the law.”
He said the April 3 election, however, will be a more solid test of the effects of the new law.
“We’re expecting a typical turnout for an April election, which will be about 15 percent,” he said.
In last year’s April election, 20,487 voters cast ballots.
“We’ll have all 54 precincts running, as opposed to the eight which were involved in the two other elections,” he said.
In November, tax issues in the Antonia and Eureka fire protection districts were put to a vote, while the February election asked voters in parts of northern Jefferson County to fill a vacant 97th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives.
“So far, we’ve not had one complaint,” Holman said. “Voters seem to know about the new law and have been very understanding.”
Holman said because the county is a mix of suburban and rural areas, a higher percentage of its voters drive to the polls than in urban areas, where walking and mass transit are options.
Other forms of valid photo ID include passports and military IDs.
“If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can also obtain a photo ID from the state (Department of Motor Vehicles) for free,” he said.
He said it would help speed the voting process if voters have their driver’s license or other ID in hand when they approach the registration table rather than looking for it there.
Voters who show other forms of ID will be able to vote as usual, but will be asked to sign a statement confirming their identity.
Those forms include a voter registration card, a school-issued ID, government check, paycheck, bank statement or utility bill.
“We will check that information against the registration information we have,” Holman said.
But because so many people have driver’s licenses, that hasn’t been a problem so far, he said.
“Of the 40,000 votes we’ve already tabulated under the new law, we’ve had maybe a dozen student IDs,” he said. “If you can produce some form of ID, you’ll still be allowed to vote, but the intent of the law is to wean people away from not showing a photo ID at the polls.
“People are used to just showing us the card we send out, and while the Secretary of State’s Office doesn’t want to block anyone’s right to vote, they want to get people used to the idea of having to show a photo,” he said.
Voters who don’t have any acceptable form of ID but are registered to vote, Holman said, will receive a blue provisional ballot that, once marked, will be sealed in an envelope and set aside.
“You can come back later and show a photo ID, and that ballot will then be counted. If not, a bipartisan team will compare the signature against the signature we have on file. If it matches, the ballot will be counted. But we’ll sort that out later,” he said.
“The important thing to remember is that if you’re registered to vote, you’ll be able to vote,” Holman said.