Missouri photo ID measure faces legal challenge

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July 8, 2011

Missouri

By Bailey Ludlam

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri: The future of a proposed Voter ID Amendment remains uncertain in Missouri. Despite being scheduled to appear on the 2012 statewide ballot, the measure now faces a legal challenge that aims to block it from the ballot.

On July 6 opponents filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court arguing that the wording of the ballot summary may be misleading. According to reports, eight plaintiffs are listed on the lawsuit which include elderly, disabled, immigrant and student voters. Denise Lieberman, a senior attorney for the Advancement Project voting rights group is also involved in the suit, along with attorneys from American Civil Liberties Union chapters in St. Louis and Kansas City and the Washington-based Fair Elections Legal Network.[1]

Specifically, the lawsuit argues that summary is misleading because lawmakers already have the authority to enact voting laws. The lawsuit states that the measure instead places "strict limits on any advance voting" and allows lawmakers "to strictly limit the types of photo identification."[1]

The ballot summary reads:[2]

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to adopt the Voter Protection Act and allow the General Assembly to provide by general law for advance voting prior to election day, voter photo identification requirements, and voter requirements based on whether one appears to vote in person or by absentee ballot?

Liberman said, "There's nothing that alerts voters to the fact that they are voting to curtail one of the core fundamental rights of their constitution."[1]

The case is expected to be heard by Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce. Defendants include Republican leaders of the House and the Senate, measure sponsor Sen. Bill Stouffer and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.[1]

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