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February 15, 2012

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012, at 1:53 PM

Elections are the lifeblood of democracy, and the "One Man One Vote" principle supporting our elections is there to ensure that every vote counts. For these reasons, we have a duty to protect the integrity of our elections and the principles on which they are based. This week, a step towards this goal by passing HB 1104 as part of our Blueprint for Missouri.

Voter fraud is not a mythical issue. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its majority opinion upholding Indiana's Voter Id law, recognized that flagrant examples of voter fraud are real and could affect the outcome of a close election.

If we continue to let this problem go unchecked, our election principles will erode and legitimate voters will be disenfranchised. HB 1104 takes steps to protect the integrity of our elections by requiring voters to prove their identity. This ensures that each eligible person can vote without having their voice diluted by lawbreakers.

Critics argue that requiring voters to show a photo ID will suppress elderly, minority and poor citizens, keeping them from the polls. They say that these groups are less likely to have photo identification, and it is more difficult for them to obtain it.

In an effort to alleviate these concerns, HB 1104 allows all citizens without the proper photo identification to obtain one free of charge from the state or their local license bureau. However, if the voter cannot afford to pay for the documentation required to obtain an ID, they can still vote by casting a provisional ballot. All of this would go into effect for the 2014 general elections.

Congratulations to all who were involved in the organizing decorating or volunteering their time and talent to making mardi-gras in Malden better than ever. The food and music was great, along with all who donated items for the silent and live auction, thank you. To Liz Provance and Flo Bennett, a special thank you. You ladies are amazing and the entire surrounding community appreciates your efforts in working on behalf of the Bootheel Youth Museum.

Last Wednesday, third grader Truman Hobbs, who attends Puxico Elementary School, visited the Capitol with his parents to present a piece of artwork to Rep. Hampton. He had the honor of being introduced in the house chamber while on his visit.

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-3629. You can also email me at Kent.Hampton@house.mo.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.

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