MISSOURI -- On June 14, Gov. Matt Blunt signed into law an immediate change to the identification required to renew a driver's license in Missouri.
Senate Bill 1001 exempts Missourians age 65 or older who are renewing a driver's license from showing proof of lawful presence, most commonly a certified birth certificate or U.S. passport.
SB 1001 has an emergency clause which makes the law effective immediately.
Also on June 14, Gov. Blunt signed into law SB 1014 that will require all registered voters in the state to show photo identification before voting.
Many county clerks across the state, including Oregon County Clerk Gary Hensley, the chief elections official in the county, questioned the voter ID law.
"We have already had elderly Oregon County residents in our office who are afraid they are not going to be able to vote," Hensley said.
He said he and his office workers have tried to assist them.
Many elderly residents in rural areas of the state do not have birth certificates or other forms of identification.
"We looked up old school records and certified them for some people. We have taken their original voter ID cards that were issued in the 1970s, made copies of them and certified those cards," Hensley said.
He said in some cases it has been hard to get the required documents to help people obtain photo identification.
"If an 86-year-old woman who has lived in Oregon County all her life and has always voted and does not have a driver's licenses goes to the polls to vote in the same polling place with the same election judges she has known for 40 years, what are the judges going to say? You can't vote because you don't have a photo ID?" the county clerk said.
Hensley said he is afraid the elderly are going to get frustrated with the process and not vote at all.
Hensley said the Missouri County Clerks Association will discuss the issue at their yearly meeting in August.