COLUMBIA — About 30 people gathered at the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center Monday morning to hear Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft talk about the voter ID law that went into effect Thursday.
Accompanied by Steele Shippy, Ashcroft's deputy chief of staff, and Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren, Ashcroft addressed the uncertainty surrounding implementation of the new law.
"We're here to let people know, we want your vote," Ashcroft said.
In November, Missouri voters passed Amendment 6, which allowed photo ID requirements at the polls. Throughout his talk Monday, however, Ashcroft reiterated that anyone registered to vote in Missouri will be able to cast a ballot.
"And if you're not registered, we'll get you registered," he said. "We want you to participate."
The next scheduled election is Aug. 8, when Boone County voters will decide whether to extend for 10 years a half-cent sales tax for county roads.
Columbia was Ashcroft's first stop in a state tour intended to educate voters about the new ID law. He also visited Kirksville, Maryville and St. Joseph on Monday, according to the tour's schedule.
He is scheduled to visit cities throughout the week, wrapping it up Friday afternoon in Ste. Genevieve.
People who already have a valid ID will be able to vote as usual. The only change to the voting process affects those who do not have a state-issued ID.
These people will still be able to present proof of identification with secondary sources such as student IDs, utility bills, IDs from other states and other identifying documents with or without a photo, but now they will need to sign a statement at the polling place, confirming their identity in writing and acknowledging that they are eligible for a Missouri ID.
These statements will then be used to document and reach out to people without a state-issued ID, offering resources and assistance to acquire one.
"We will use that statement to then reach out back to you and make sure you understand that we're glad to help you get an ID for the purposes of voting if you want to use that in the future," Ashcroft said. "This doesn't effect anyone's ability to vote."
Those who have no primary or secondary form of identification will be able to fill out a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots will be counted if the signature provided matches the one the state has on file or if the voter returns with documentation.
The state will provide free assistance for people who don't have the necessary documentation to obtain a state ID. The state has appropriated $100,000 to locate or produce these documents for those who seek help from the state.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.