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Thousands of Missourians Will Need to Get an ID to Vote

The state’s new election law requires voters to show state-issued identification at the polls but thousands of residents don’t have one and getting a photo ID isn’t always easy. Here’s what you need to know.

(TNS) — The hallway in Morning Glory Ministries was packed with about a dozen people on the morning of Sept. 6. After the soup kitchen serves breakfast, some people stick around and staff members help with getting items like clothes, hygiene items or even a state ID.

A state-issued ID can make it easier or possible for someone to apply for a job, get approved for housing or open a bank account — and now in Missouri, to be able to cast your vote.

Paul Hardnett, a born and raised Kansas Citian who has been without housing for two years, is working with Morning Glory to get his state ID for the second time.

He is one of thousands of people in Missouri who do not have a state-issued photo ID, which a new Missouri law requires voters to show at the polls. Registered voters without a photo ID will still be able to cast what’s called a provisional ballot, which takes a few extra steps before it can be counted.

“We want to make sure that we know you are who you saw you are and that you’re the person that’s supposed to be voting,” Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft told The Star about the new photo ID requirements. “But at the same time, we don’t want to turn anybody away.”

In 2017 in Missouri, there were about 138,000 registered voters who did not have a state ID, and about 140,000 more registered voters with expired state IDs, according to a state report called the No Match Analysis.

To make sure as many people as possible will be able to meet the new voting requirements, the state, as well as a host of nonprofit organizations like Morning Glory Ministries, are helping people get the credentials needed for an ID.

How Hard Is It To Get An ID In Missouri?

Hardnett said even with the help of a service agency like that, the process of obtaining a new state ID can be difficult to navigate. This is his second time trying to get an ID. Last year he finished the application process but the ID never showed up in the mail.

“A lot of us take for granted the fact that we have something in our wallet that provides us access to voting,” said Jodi Matthews, director of marketing and development at Reconciliation Services, another agency that helps people get state-issued IDs.

“If everyone in our community had access to proper identification, they could access the things they need, then it wouldn’t be a big deal for people to need an ID to vote, if we just made sure everybody had an ID.”

In order for someone like Hardnett to get his state ID, it takes about three steps.

First, on Tuesday morning, Hardnett sat down to apply for his birth certificate. The application asked for Harnett’s parents’ names, the hospital he was born at, a piece of mail verifying his identity and the reason he needed a new copy of the birth certificate.

After walking through questions with Kraus, Hardnett took the application and a voucher for the application fee to the health department at 2400 Troost Avenue. The wait was only about five minutes.

The second step is getting his proof of address. Hardnett lost his subsidized apartment at Linwood Boulevard and Chestnut Avenue two years ago after falling behind in rent. Shortly after, he lost his wallet while at the library.

Since he’s been without housing, he gets his mail sent to HopeFaithKC, which offers 600 mailboxes to the houseless. In order to finish his application, he needs to get a letter from HopeFaithKC that confirms his mailing address.

The third step is for Hardnett to pick up his $18 check from Morning Glory Ministries and take his new birth certificate, his proof of address and the check to the DMV. Once the application is submitted to the DMV, he will receive an ID in the mail that he can use to vote, apply for housing, open a bank account and a number of other necessary services.

“It’s really important for me,” Hardnett said.

Each year Morning Glory Ministries pays around $20,000 for upwards of 1,100 people to get an ID from the state. As it works to inform voters about the new law, the Missouri Secretary of State’s office is also offering to assist voters and cover the costs of obtaining the documents necessary for getting an ID to vote.

How Do Photo ID Laws Affect Voters?

The research on voter ID laws’ effects on voter turnout is varied. A 2019 study on voter ID laws, which looked at voter turnout on a county level nationwide, found that strict voter ID laws disproportionately impact communities of color, and a 2018 study found that people of color are in general less likely to have the kind of photo ID accepted at the polls, which can disenfranchise them from voting. However another 2019 study showed that voter ID laws did not have any significant effect on voter turnout.

Denise Lieberman, a voting rights lawyer at the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, said people who traditionally have a harder time obtaining a state ID include those with disabilities or illnesses, low wage workers who can’t afford to get off work to visit the DMV, people who are older and have a harder time tracking down a birth certificate and in some cases people who don’t drive.

The League of Women Voters and the Missouri NAACP filed a lawsuit arguing the new photo ID requirements violate the state’s constitution.

“Missouri already required all voters to show ID,” Lieberman said. “The problem with these laws is not that it requires ID—what this law does is eliminate many forms of ID that many voters rely on leaving just that kind of ID that you have to get at the DMV.”

Previously you could use a utility bill and other forms of identification to vote in Missouri.

What You Need to Get a State ID from The DMV

There are a number of paths to getting an ID in order to vote. Many people seeking an ID might opt for a driver’s license or a non-driver’s license ID. The cost of a six-year non-driver ID costs $18. A six-year driver’s license costs $20 for most applicants.

Since 2017, the state Department of Revenue has offered state-issued IDs specifically for voting purposes at no cost to the applicant. The process of getting the ID is similar to a state ID, and applicants will still need their birth certificate and proof of residence, but it is intended solely for voting.

In order to receive a driver’s license or an non-driver ID, applicants must show:

  • Proof of Identity
  • Date of lawful status (i.e. birth certificate or permanent resident card)
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • Proof of Missouri residential address

For a non-driver ID only for voting purposes, the application must show:

  • Document that shows full legal name, date of birth and place of birth
  • Social Security number (either by saying it verbally or showing the card)
  • Proof of Missouri residence and mailing address.

Other Agencies That Can Help You Get An ID For Free

Reconciliation Services: 1006 Linwood Blvd.

Reconciliation Services offers assistance with getting a state ID to individuals in need. Reconciliation Services will get the documents and the state ID for free, but if anyone is interested in sponsoring this service for another person, they can donate $25 here.

Call 816-931-4751.

Morning Glory Ministries: 1112 Broadway Blvd.

Morning Glory Ministries can help those who are houseless and need help with emergency services including getting a state ID. The program will pay for the documents needed for the ID and will pay for the ID itself. The program can only help Missouri residents interested in getting a Missouri ID.

Call 816-842-0416.

Missouri Secretary of State

The Missouri Secretary of State can help residents get their birth certificate even if the person was born in a different state. The secretary of state will also absorb the costs of getting the birth certificate.

Fill out this form at

Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR)

The Department of Revenue offers free state-issued IDs for voting purposes only. For this ID, you still need some identifying documents like a birth certificate, a Social Security number and proof of residence.

Call 573-526-2407 or visit

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

If you need help getting your birth certificate but you were born in Missouri, you can get a copy from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. If you would like to get your birth certificate from the DHSS or if you need to change your name or another piece of information on a vital document.

Call 573-751-6387.

What If I’m In Kansas?

In Kansas, you also need a photo ID to vote. The process of getting an ID is slightly different once you cross the state line. If you need help organizations like Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas can help. Registered voters can also apply for a free ID for voting purposes through the Kansas Division of Motor Vehicles.

“Voting is one of those important rights and offers access to something vital and important that could be life changing for people, just like housing or a job,” Mathews from Reconciliation Services said.

©2022 The Kansas City Star. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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