Missouri’s controversial voter photo ID rules ‘eviscerated’ by state Supreme Court

St. Louis Post Dispatch,  January 14, 2020

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

At issue is a 2016 decision by Missouri voters to amend the Missouri Constitution to allow lawmakers to create requirements for voters to identify themselves when voting 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.

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The secretary of state’s office said that following Callahan’s ruling in October 2018, the office advised local election authorities to allow voters without photo ID to cast regular ballots, without requiring a sworn statement."

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Hannah Piercey

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