Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri's Controversial Voter Photo ID Rules 'Eviscerated' by State Supreme Court

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri's Controversial Voter Photo ID Rules 'Eviscerated' by State Supreme Court

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY -- The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a blow to long-running Republican efforts to require photo identification at the polls.

In a 5-2 opinion written by Judge Mary R. Russell, the high court upheld a lower court's decision that forbade the secretary of state from publishing information indicating photo identification is required to vote.

It also said Senior Cole County Judge Richard Callahan made the right decision in 2018 when he jettisoned a requirement that voters without photo IDs sign an affidavit attesting to their identities.

At issue is a 2016 decision by Missouri voters to amend the state constitution to allow lawmakers to create requirements for voters to identify themselves at their polling place, including using photo IDs.

The resulting law directed voters to present a valid photo ID, or to sign a sworn statement and present some other form of identification in order to cast a regular ballot.

The affidavit also asked voters to certify that they knew Missouri had photo ID requirements, and that the voters did not possess a valid form of personal identification.

According to the opinion, one voter who presented a voter identification card and signed an affidavit in 2017 "testified the language of the affidavit was confusing and ambiguous because it required them to state they do not possess personal identification when they, in fact, did have their voter identification card."

Two voters "testified they would not sign the affidavit to vote in a future election," which is required for voters who don't bring a valid ID.

A statement from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's office said the Supreme Court's decision "eviscerated" the 2016 ballot question, which 63% of voters approved, and that "opponents have failed to bring forth a single voter who was unable to vote as a result of the voter ID requirements. …

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