Missouri`s voter ID law is back in court. Here`s a look at what it does
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By SUMMER BALLENTINE
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) __ A trial for a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Missouri`s new photo identification requirement for voters is scheduled to begin Friday. Here is a look at the function of the law and why voting rights groups are suing:
WHAT THE LAW DOES
Missouri`s GOP-led Legislature last year capped off a nearly two-decade-long
push by Republicans and passed a law requiring voters to show photo
identification to cast a regular ballot.
People without a government-issued photo ID can cast provisional ballots to be counted if they return later that day with a photo ID or if election officials verify their signatures. The law requires the state to provide a free photo identification card to those lacking one to vote.
The Missouri League of Women Voters, NAACP and two voters sued to overturn the
law last year, arguing the change makes casting ballots unconstitutionally
difficult for some voters.
Cole County Presiding Judge Jon Beetem, who also will hear arguments in the trial beginning Friday, dismissed the case in October 2022. He found neither of the two voters "alleged a specific, concrete, non-speculative injury or legally protectable interest in challenging the photo ID requirement."
The Missouri ACLU and Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, who sued on behalf of the plaintiffs, have since added another voter to the lawsuit and asked Beetem again to find the voter ID requirement unconstitutional.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE LAW
The newest plaintiff is John O'Connor, a 90-year-old Columbia, Missouri,
resident with poor vision who needs help walking. When the law took effect last
year, O`Connor had an expired passport and driver`s license, which are not
acceptable forms of identification to vote under state law.
His lawyers argued he eventually obtained a non-driver`s license with the help of his wife, but only because officials accepted his expired driver`s license despite guidance from the state Revenue Department that long-expired licenses are not acceptable records to use when seeking new IDs.
"Even when a voter obtains the underlying documentation, voters who lack
transportation, cannot get to the DMV or other government agencies during their
hours of operation, or have a disability or impairment that prevents them from
accessing a DMV, the voter is still unable to surmount the burdens to obtaining
a photo ID," the plaintiffs` lawyers wrote in a pretrial brief.
By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023