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Missouri's Voter Citizenship Amendment Is A Solution Looking For A Problem

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That’s right. It’s not needed and never has been

Folks, this will be sold as “don’t let illegal immigrants vote”, but that’s not the goal. Republicans are pushing it so fewer people will get to vote.

The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote.

The measure would allow far more rigorous demands than the voter ID requirement recently upheld by the Supreme Court, in which voters had to prove their identity with a government-issued card.

Sponsors of the amendment — which requires the approval of voters to go into effect, possibly in an August referendum — say it is part of an effort to prevent illegal immigrants from affecting the political process. Critics say the measure could lead to the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legal residents who would find it difficult to prove their citizenship.

And as CitizenSugar points out, shouldn’t we be penalizing people after the fact instead of trying to create laws where you have to go out of your way to prove you’re a citizen?

Do we have to protect the rights of citizens who may have difficulty obtaining proof? Which is a graver risk: letting a non-citizen vote, or keeping a citizen from exercising the voting — the quintessential act of democracy? What if we could review votes later to disqualify non-citizens, while attaching stiffer penalties for fraud?

Also, recent studies have shown that voter fraud is virtually non existent…

WASHINGTON, April 11 — Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.

Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.

One last note on how much damage this citizenship requirement could do…

The Missouri secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, a Democrat who opposes the measure, estimated that it could disenfranchise up to 240,000 registered voters who would be unable to prove their citizenship.

240,000 people. Think about that.