Education Lacking on Missouri ID Law, Critics Argue in Court

AP News,  August 20, 2019

Critics of Missouri’s new voter identification law argued in court Monday that election officials hadn’t done enough to help residents navigate the changes, countering the secretary of state’s position that his 18-month informational campaign “far exceeded” the legal requirements.

Groups including the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Missouri sued to fight the 2017 law. Critics’ attorneys argued that the state didn’t spend enough money or resources educating people about the new requirements and helping them obtain proper identification.

“You have to literally convince people that they’re going to be allowed to vote” under the current law, Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel testified Monday before Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem. “Because they understand there’s some change in the law that hasn’t been explained to them.”

Christine Dragonette, who leads a St. Louis church program that helps people obtain birth certificates and other identifying documents, testified that she has worked with clients who were unlawfully denied free identification cards for voting under the new law.

But attorneys for Missouri say Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s 18-month informational campaign easily surpassed the minimum requirements to educate voters.

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The trial is scheduled to last the rest of the week."

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