Missouri Democrats are worried — about Kansas.
They fear messages bleeding over the border will scare some of their voters away from the polls. In particular, they’re nervous about a highly visible advertising campaign telling Kansans they’ll need a picture ID to cast their ballots this year.
Pictures aren’t required to vote in Missouri, in part because Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a photo ID law last year.
But Missouri Democratic officials fear many voters, particularly the elderly and poor without photo ID, may see the Kansas-based ads and misunderstand the rules. So they’re issuing press releases and calling news conferences to remind Missouri voters they don’t need a photo ID.
“Every election cycle there are mail pieces, TV ads, radio ads that are misleading,” state party chairman and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said this week. “We want to make sure we get ahead of the curve this year, so that nobody has any confusion about what it’s going to take to cast a ballot in the state of Missouri.”
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, also a Democrat, issued a similar statement last week.
Democrats say their concerns developed after Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican and key supporter of picture ID requirements, launched a media campaign informing Kansas voters of the new rules. Ads and a website, paid for by a $300,000 federal grant, outline the new rules for the state’s voters, who face the photo requirement for the first time.
Kobach said he had no intention of influencing Missouri’s election.
“All of our ads mention Kansas, some multiple times,” Kobach said. “I think it would be highly unlikely that a Missouri viewer would mistake any of our ads as a reference to Missouri.”
Missouri’s Republicans say their Democratic counterparts are too worried about the problem. Missourians, they said, should be more concerned with the lack of photo ID in the state.
“Our entire GOP statewide ticket … supports a photo identification requirement to vote, as do a vast majority of Missourians,” said party chairman Lloyd Smith in an email.
Missouri Democrats May Blame Turnout Problems on Voter Photo ID Problems