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Faith Leaders Urge Missourians To Vote No On Proposed Photo ID Law

Elle Moxley
KCUR 89.3
At a rally against a proposed constitutional amendment to require photo ID to vote in Missouri, the crowd chanted, 'Deep-six amendment six.'

Ministers and union leaders rallied Wednesday at Barney Allis Plaza in downtown Kansas City in opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment that would require Missourians to show a photo ID before voting.

“This gathering is about the holding hands again of labor and faith as they did more than 50 years ago on the Washington Mall,” says Rev. Bob Hill, former pastor of Community Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri.

AFL-CIO and the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equality organized the rally, which coincided with the National Baptist Convention’s annual conference.

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre says workers have seen their wages go down at a time when the country is the richest it’s ever been.

“We go to the polling place and we voice our concerns,” Gebre says. “Those who don’t want us to make the rules are coming up with a lot of shenanigans like voter suppression.”

An estimated 220,000 registered Missouri voters do not have a photo ID and would not be able to vote if the constitutional amendment passes Nov. 8.

Gebre says it’s a myth that people are voting two or three times and the real problem is voter turnout.

“I wish people were voting even once,” he says.

Neighboring Kansas already has some of the strictest voter ID laws in the nation. Rev. Bobby Love of the Second Baptist Church of Olathe says some of his congregants have had trouble registering to vote in Kansas after moving there from out-of-state.

“They didn't have adequate ID at the time, so when it comes to a major election, those votes are then cast aside and held in suspense,” says Love.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that Kansans who registered to vote at the DMV without citizenship documents should be allowed to cast ballots. Proponents of voter ID rules say they will decrease fraud and protect the rights of citizens.

Love says it’s mostly poor and minority voters who have trouble assembling the documentation needed to get a photo ID.

Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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