Photo ID Required to Vote

Photo ID Required to Vote
By: Tiffany Sisson

NEW MADRID, MO --Primary elections in Missouri are more than a month away, but an issue not even on the ballots is getting a lot of attention. While, the issues and candidates you vote for are your business, it's the business of the state to make sure the person voting is who they say they are. "Maybe they need that to make sure you're voting in the right place, the right person's doing the voting," said Kay Kimball of New Madrid.

Most voters want a system in place to keep track of voting practices at polling places, including New Madrid County Clerk Clement Cravens, "Obviously, every election authority wants every voter to be properly identified."

What he doesn't like is the timing of the new photo ID law, "Because of the additional duties that are already on us this year," explained Cravens.

The embarrassing debacle of the 2000 presidential election, in which perhaps millions of Americans were denied the right to vote or had their ballots not counted, prompted congress to pass the Help America Vote Act of 2002. That law goes into place this year. "We're all going through the process of getting new voting equipment and to throw this in on top that, it's just almost unbearable," said Cravens.

Cravens and his staff are getting ready for any election issues that may pop up. It's the volunteers who help work the polls that cravens is worried about, "They have to have that voter stand aside and wait while we review records, call them back and they're gonna have to do a provisional ballot."

That is an option if you don't have a photo ID, but, again, you'll have to wait. Cravens fears that in a time where voter turnout is already low, hang-ups could push those numbers even lower.