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Missouri Supreme Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law

In a six-to-one decision, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down a voter identification law on Monday, supporting a lower court decision that ruled the law violated the equal protection clause of Missouri’s constitution, as well as the right guaranteed by the state constitution to vote. Opponents of the voter identification law, which would have required all voters to present a state- or federally issued photo ID when voting, argue that the ID requirement makes voting too difficult and places a financial burden on voters. The law would have especially affected the poor, elderly, and disabled, who are less likely to already possess a form of photo ID.

In the majority opinion, the court said that the law “places too great an encumbrance on the right to vote of Missourians who cannot show the very specific and often costly-to-obtain photo IDs the statute requires,” according to Southeast Missourian.

The voter identification bill was signed into law by Governor Matt Blunt (R) on June 15 and was challenged in the lower court in September. It is estimated that 169,000 to 240,000 Missourians lack the identification that would have been necessary to vote under this law.

Sources:

Southeast Missourian 10/17/06; Associated Press 10/16/06; St. Louis Business Journal 10/16/06

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