Jefferson City – Testimony began recently a case that could determine the fate of Missouri’s voter ID law.
A coalition of local and national voter advocates are challenging the state’s burdensome and confusing new law in Cole County Circuit Court.
Missouri’s voter ID law went into effect in 2017, following passage of a voter referendum in 2016, and is the latest in a more than decade-long saga of voter ID in Missouri, following a national trend of states passing overly restrictive voting laws. Missouri’s law explicitly requires the state to notify voters and provides that the voter ID requirements cannot go into effect if the state has failed to fund these mandates.
“Voters were promised that Missouri’s voter ID law was not about disenfranchising the most vulnerable in our state,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “The state’s lack of funding and implementation of this law tells another story.”
REQUIREMENTS MAKE IT HARDER TO VOTE
“Missouri’s law is confusing. At heart, voter ID requirements are designed to make it harder to vote – particularly for people of color, young voters, seniors, and voters with disabilities. The effect is magnified when the state fails to uphold its end of the bargain to ensure that voters are informed about the rules,” said Denise Lieberman, Senior Attorney and Director of Power & Democracy at Advancement Project National Office. “Invariably, the state’s failure to do so means the burden falls on the backs of voters.”
The case, Missouri State Conference of the NAACP et al. v. State of Missouri, is being pursued by the Advancement Project National Office, ACLU of Missouri, the ACLU National Voting Rights Project and Covington & Burling LLP more than two years ago on behalf of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP, League of Women Voters of Missouri and Christine Dragonette, claims Missouri’s latest voter ID law was not sufficiently implemented, causing widespread confusion for voters and poll workers.
“The NAACP has long raised concerns about Missouri’s efforts to implement a voter ID law, and it is one of the reasons we have issued a travel advisory for the state,” said Nimrod Chapel, President of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP. “We look forward to having our day in court.”