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Missouri: Another Defeat For Voter ID Requirements PDF Print Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
September 17, 2006

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In another resounding defeat for efforts to require voters to present photo identification at the polls, Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan ruled on Thursday that Missouri's new voter identification law (SB 1014) is an unconstitutional infringement on the right to vote. Callahan ruled that the law was an unconstitutional burden on voters because the paperwork required to get those IDs is not free.

While agreeing that a photo ID requirement is not a burden for most of society, he wrote in his ruling “for the elderly, the poor, the under-educated, or otherwise disadvantaged, the burden can be great if not insurmountable, and it is those very people outside the mainstream of society who are the least equipped to bear the costs or navigate the many bureaucracies necessary to obtain the required documentation."


Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said in a written statement "This ruling affirms my concern that the law clearly jeopardizes the constitutional voting rights of many Missourians. As Missouri's chief elections official, it's my job to ensure fair elections, and elections cannot be fair if eligible voters are not allowed to vote."

In spite of defeats in numerous states, it is clear that efforts to impose restrictive identification requirements will continue. Gov. Matt Blunt, who signed the signed into law on June 14, criticized the decision and argued that it is necessary to prevent fraud and increase confidence in the election process. The Kansas City Star  quoted attorney Thor Hearne promising, "This law was always targeted at an '08 effective date, and there's certainly time for the Legislature to address that."

Callahan had combined two lawsuits challenging SB 1014. one that claimed the voter ID rule violates the Hancock Amendment against unfunded mandates and the other claimed that the law placed an unconstitutional burden on thousands of Missourians without photo identification.
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