Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Sunday, August 27
Implementing Missouri's Voter ID Law
The blogging silence over the past several days is due to the fact that I've been on the road and my laptop is broken (though, fortunately, a new one should be arriving tomorrow). Among the things to catch up on is the implementation of Missouri's new photo ID law, discussed in this report from today's Kansas City Star.

Earlier this year, Missouri became the third state to require photo identification in order to have one's vote counted, the other two being Georgia and Indiana. The Star reports on the Department of Revenue's modest efforts at outreach to voters who lack the required identification. Elderly and disabled voters are especially likely to lack ID, so the state is trying to have mobile vans sent out to them. But in order to obtain a photo ID, voters must already have in hand documentation of citizenship such as a birth certificate, which requires a fee to obtain.

Missouri's Secretary of State previously estimated the number of eligible citizens lacking the required ID at 240,000 but, according to this AP story, the real number of voting-age citizens without photo ID may be closer to 170,000. In any event, there are a lot of people out there who will have to have photo ID if they're to have their votes counted.

The Missouri ACLU has filed a lawsuit in state court challenging the ID requirement (Jackson County v. State of Missouri), and a motion for a preliminary injunction is pending. The claims in that case are based on a provision of the state constitution, the Hancock Amendment, which prohibits the imposition of financial burdens on counties without state funding. In effect, the ACLU is arguing that the State of Missouri has imposed an unfunded mandate on Missouri counties by requiring voter ID. As far as I can tell, no one has yet brought a challenge to the law under the U.S. Constitution -- as was done in Indiana and Georgia -- but I'd expect such a case to be filed in the event that the state constitutional claims are rejected.

Update: A reader informs me that there's another case pending in Missouri state court, challenging the ID on the ground that it infringes voting rights protected by the state constitution. That case, Weinshenk v. State of Missouri, has been consolidated with the Jackson County case. The AP had this report at the time the Weinshenk case was filed, and I'm now posting the plaintiffs' petition, motion for a preliminary injunction, and preliminary injunction brief.

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